In a big blow, Supreme Court rejects P Chidambaram’s anticipatory bail

New Delhi | The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected P Chidambaram’s anticipatory bail in the INX Media case registered by the ED.

The court said that P Chidambaram is free to apply for regular bail against the arrest.

“Anticipatory cannot be granted as a matter of right. It is to be exercised sparingly in the cases of economic offences which constitute a class apart. Grant of anticipatory bail at initial stages may frustrate the ongoing investigation”, the bench said.

The order was reserved by the Bench of Justices R Banumathiand AS Bopanna on August 29. While reserving the order, the Court had extended Chidambaram’s interim protection from arrest in the ED case till today.

During the hearings, Solicitor General for India Tushar Mehta had sought to place before the Bench material that was relied upon to seek custody of Chidambaram. The Court has directed the ED to submit this material in a sealed cover on the day the order was reserved.

The Court was also dealing with the question of whether or not courts can look into the material in a sealed cover without it being used to confront the accused persons first.

The bench said it had powers to study the sealed documents but will refrain to do so, to not tamper the ongoing investigation.

Chidambaram’s 15-day CBI custody, ordered by the special court in five spells, which started after his arrest on August 21 night, ends on Thursday.

P Chidambaram was arrested from his Jor Bagh house of August 21 after the Delhi HC rejected the former home minister’s request for an anticipatory bail in two cases being investigated by CBI and ED.

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