NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday adjourned for Friday the hearing on the bail plea filed by senior Congress leader P Chidambaram in connection with the INX Media money laundering case.
Earlier today, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had sought the adjournment of the hearing on the plea of Chidambaram against the order of the Delhi High Court that dismissed his bail plea in the case.
Appearing for the CBI in the court, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) K M Natraj, who was also appearing for CBI, urged the bench that the matter should be heard on Friday as Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was on his legs before the Constitution bench.
The bench, also comprising justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, however told Natraj to advance arguments and take it through the counter affidavit filed by the CBI and said that it would hear Mehta's submission on Thursday.
While the ASG was reading out the relevant portion of the CBI's counter-affidavit filed in the matter, Mehta appeared in the court.
"I have taken five minutes time from the Constitution bench to come to this court to tender an apology. I am on my legs before the constitution bench.
No prejudice would be caused to the other side as he (Chidambaram) has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate today," Mehta told the bench.
"It is really embarrassing. Have it day after tomorrow. My role would be over before the Constitution bench by tomorrow. I am requesting that this matter be heard at 2 PM on Friday," he said.
To this, the bench told Mehta, "We will assemble at 1.30 PM tomorrow. You come and argue tomorrow." Mehta said that since Chidambaram has been arrested by the ED, no prejudice would be caused to him if the case would be heard on Friday.
"There is no exceptional circumstance in this case that this court would hear it during recess," Mehta said.
The bench told Mehta that the ASG was taking it through the counter affidavit filed by CBI and not referring to the merits of the case.
It later posted the matter for further hearing on Friday when Mehta would advance his arguments.
Today, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested P Chidambaram after grilling him for nearly two hours at Delhi's Tihar Jail in connection with the case.
His arrest came a day after a special court allowed the ED to grill Chidambaram for 30 minutes in connection with the matter to decide on his arrest.
Chidambaram was in judicial custody in Tihar Jail since September 5 in a corruption case related to the alleged scam being probed by the CBI and ED. His remand is slated to end on October 17.
The case pertains to an FIR registered by the CBI for alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to INX Media to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 by Chidambaram when he was the Finance Minister.
ED is investigating the alleged offence of money laundering that arose out of the FIR.
(With inputs from other agencies)