NEW DELHI: Former Union finance minister P Chidambaram filed a fresh plea in the Supreme Court on Friday, challenging the arrest warrant issued against him and the trial court's order remanding him to CBI custody till August 26 in the INX Media corruption case.
The senior Congress leader was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on August 21, pursuant to an arrest warrant issued against him by the trial court on the same day in the case.
He was remanded to the agency's custody on Thursday by the trial court, which said his custodial interrogation was justified in the INX Media case.
In his fresh plea, Chidambaram justified approaching the top court directly against the trial court's orders without knocking the doors of the Delhi High Court, saying "the detention/arrest of the petitioner and the subsequent remand of the petitioner to custody of respondent agency are a direct sequitur of the judgment dated August 20, 2019.
Rejecting the petitioner's application for anticipatory bail and making certain observations on the merits of the case itself". He said the plea pertained to his liberty, which was "illegally curtailed".
"It is the case of the petitioner that the detention/arrest of the petitioner in pursuance of a non-bailable warrant issued on August 21, 2019 and his subsequent remand by the order dated August 22, 2019 are totally without jurisdiction and authority of law," the plea said.
The Congress leader said the trial court had passed the order of his arrest as a matter of course, without any application of mind and without even considering that the top court was seized of the matter.
"It is submitted that the conduct of the respondent (CBI) is not only deplorable but, in fact, the action of the respondent clearly shows that the whole action was planned to overreach the authority and majesty of this court, in which the special judge was misled and made to pass the impugned orders," the plea said.
Chidambaram, as an interim relief, has sought an ex-parte stay of the two trial court orders till the disposal of his appeals filed against the high court order.
On Friday, the top court granted protection from arrest till August 26 to Chidambaram in a money-laundering case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the INX Media case, for which he was already facing custodial interrogation by the CBI in a related corruption case.
The relief granted by the top court in the ED case will have little effect as Chidambaram has been remanded in CBI's custody till Monday by a trial court in the graft case.
The top court said all three appeals filed by Chidambaram -- those against the Delhi High Court orders rejecting his anticipatory bail pleas in the CBI case and the ED case and the one against the trial court's orders -- will be listed on August 26 for further hearing.
The CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram's tenure as the finance minister.
Thereafter, the ED lodged a money-laundering case in 2017.