New Delhi: A decision on former Union Minister P Chidambaram's appeal seeking protection from arrest by the Enforcement Directorate, will be taken on September 5, the Supreme Court said on Thursday. The former minister who has been in the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation since last week -- will have immunity from arrest by the Enforcement Directorate.
Money laundering is an offence against "society and nation", the Enforcement Directorate (ED) told the Supreme Court on Thursday and said it needed custodial interrogation of former finance minister P Chidambaram to unearth the larger conspiracy in the INX Media money case under PMLA.
The ED told a bench of Justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna that it cannot show the material collected during the probe to Chidambaram at this stage as the evidence related to money trail of layers of money might be erased.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for ED, said there is no requirement of "exposing the materials, sources and evidence to the accused at the stage of pre-arrest bail" and investigation is the exclusive domain of the probe agency.
"Money laundering is an offence against the society and the nation and probe agency has a right and duty to unearth the entire conspiracy," he told the bench, adding that the apex court has consistently held that economic offences are "gravest of grave" irrespective of the sentence prescribed for it.
"I have materials to show that laundering of money continued after 2009 and even today (in the INX Media case)," he said, adding that the ED wants to interrogate Chidambaram in custody and without the "protective umbrella" of anticipatory bail.
The apex court is hearing a plea filed by Chidambaram who has challenged the August 20 verdict of the Delhi High Court denying him anticipatory bail in the INX Media corruption and money laundering cases lodged by the CBI and ED. The arguments in the case would continue during the day.
Earlier, Indrani Mukerjea, an approver in the INX Media case and exposed the role of P Chidambaram and his son Karti in money laundering, seemed reportedly happy with the arrest of the former union minister. Talking to media at the Sessions Court, Mukerjea termed Chidambaram's arrest as “good news”.
Mukerjea had turned an approver in the CBI case on July 11. In her application to turn approver, Mukerjea had prayed for pardon in the case in exchange of full and true disclosure....