CHIDAMBARAM

Indian politician P. Chidambaram attends the wedding of Indian businesswoman Isha Ambani with Indian businessman Anand Piramal in Mumbai on Dec. 12, 2018. (Sujit Jaiswal/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI — The Supreme Court is the last resort for the former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram to save himself from the imminent threat of arrest in the INX Media scam.

Though Chidambaram failed to get an audience with the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi for an urgent hearing in the matter, after hectic discussion with various authorities concerned, he was told his plea would be taken up before an appropriate bench at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 21.

Earlier in the day, the Delhi High Court dismissed his anticipatory bail plea in the alleged corruption and money-laundering involving INX Media.

The High Court said facts prima facie reveal that he is the kingpin, the key conspirator, in the case. The High Court observed that the magnitude and enormity of material brought forth by investigating agencies clearly does not entitle him any pre-arrest bail.

Making a sharp observation on the nature of the crime, the court said the economic offence of this magnitude certainly requires a treatment with an iron hand, "the hands of the investigating agencies cannot be tied up in such a massive economic offense."

The court also recorded that he has been evasive in his replies to the queries put forward by investigating agencies, which indicate non-cooperation in the investigations.

The Delhi High Court did not even pass any order on the senior Congress leader's request to give him three-day interim protection from arrest, and also refused to pass an order on stay on the operation of the order during this time period.

After the order from the Delhi High Court, the legal team of Congress led by senior party leader Kapil Sibal rushed to the apex court to the Registrar (judicial) seeking to mention the petition urgently. Both, Chidambaram and Sibal, were seen shuttling between offices of various senior court officers — from the Secretary General to the court staff of Chief Justice.

Later, the Congress' legal team held an exhaustive discussion at a consultation room in the top court.

Speaking to media persons, Sibal said: "The matter will be taken up before the next senior-most judge in the top court. We have also not received the copy of the Delhi High Court. Under these circumstances, how could we file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court?"

Both, the Chief Justice and second-in-line Justice S.A. Bobde are occupied in the Constitution bench hearing the Ayodhya case.

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