P Chidambaram case: The former Finance Minister, arrested by CBI, faces allegations of corruption

New Delhi:  Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, arrested on Wednesday in a corruption investigation, suffered a series of setbacks in the Supreme Court today. His petition challenging his CBI custody was not listed for a hearing at the top court. A bench told Mr Chidambaram’s lawyer Kapil Sibal that the petition would be listed only after “orders from Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi”. The top court also refused to take up his petition requesting protection from arrest by the CBI – filed on Wednesday – saying it was “infructuous” now as he had since been arrested. The court is now hearing Mr Chidambaram’s petition for protection from arrest by the Enforcement Directorate.

Here is your 10-point cheatsheet to this big story:

  1. “I have a right to be heard,” Mr Sibal said on behalf of Mr Chidambaram, referring to the team’s failed attempts to get a Supreme Court hearing on the former minister’s request for pre-arrest bail on Tuesday and Wednesday, after which he was arrested. Mr Chidambaram’s lawyers argued that when the court said the petition would be heard on Friday, the CBI should have waited instead of arresting him on Wednesday.
  2. Mr Chidambaram’s five-day CBI custody ends today. The CBI is likely to ask for an extension of his custody at a special court. Sources say the CBI is likely to argue that new evidence has come to light during his interrogation in the past four days.
  3. Mr Chidambaram is accused by the CBI of facilitating a huge infusion of foreign funds into the media company INX Media in 2007, when he was finance minister, at the instance of his son Karti Chidambaram, who allegedly received kickbacks for his role.
  4. Mr Chidambaram and his son were named by INX Media co-founders Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, who are in jail in Mumbai for the murder of Indrani’s daughter Sheena Bora. Indrani Mukerjea, who turned approver in the case, reportedly revealed details of her meeting with the Chidambarams.
  5. The Enforcement Directorate has filed a money-laundering case linked to the INX Media allegations. Last week, the Supreme Court had restrained the agency from arresting him till today.
  6. The Enforcement Directorate, in an affidavit, alleges that Mr Chidambaram and his aides and co-conspirators (names withheld by the directorate) created a web of shell companies in India and abroad for money laundering.
  7. “Whether Chidambaram is Ex-Finance Minister and former Home Minister or an ordinary citizen, pre-arrest bail should not be granted and it will be travesty of Justice if the top court considers the accused’s plea,” says the agency.
  8. The senior Congress leader was arrested on Wednesday evening amid high drama after his lawyers failed to get the Supreme Court to urgently hear his request for protection against arrest by the CBI.
  9. Mr Chidambaram, who hadn’t been seen since the previous evening, surfaced dramatically at a Congress press conference on Wednesday and then drove to his home in South Delhi, where CBI officers arrested him.
  10. On Tuesday, the Delhi High Court had dismissed Mr Chidambaram’s request for anticipatory bail, after which he petitioned the Supreme Court.

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