New Delhi: Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Monday got some partial relief from the Supreme Court which ordered he remain in CBI custody in the INX Media case and not be sent to the Tihar Jail until the court hears his plea.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, told a bench headed by Justice R Banumathi: "I am begging you. Please don't do this. Protect him till you hear this case. He shouldn't be sent to Tihar." The top court was conducting the hearing on a petition filed by Chidambaram against his CBI custody.
Acting on Chidambaram's request, the apex court asked him to apply for bail from the trial court. At this, Sibal made fervent pleas, including a proposal to place Chidambaram under house arrest, despite serious objections by the Centre. "We absolutely oppose this house arrest proposal... this procedure is not known to law, and it will set a wrong precedent," Additional Solicitor General K.M. Natrajan said.
As Sibal insisted that his plea for any relief will be definitely rejected by the trial court, the judge said that he cannot move the top court, jumping the jurisdiction of the trial court and the high court to seek relief on custody. The Centre's counsel contested Sibal's argument, saying that the application cannot be maintained.
The apex court, though refusing to grant Chidambaram interim protection, asked him to seek interim bail from trial court, and also ordered that he be not sent to Tihar Jail. Justice Banumathi said that Chidambaram's CBI custody will be extended till Thursday if trial judge rejects his bail plea.
Chidambaram's police custody ends Monday and he is being produced before the trial court. If the court rejects his bail, he faced the prospect of being sent to the Tihar jail. But the apex court has presently foreclosed this.