Congress leader P Chidambaram. (Photo Credit: PTI)
Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that his client P Chidambaram is not a ‘Ranga Billa’ and he is not being released because it will send a wrong message to the public. Sibal said this in the top court during the hearing of bail plea filed by Chidambaram in the ED case against him. “The idea is to keep Chidambaram in custody for as long as possible. Earlier they (ED) argued that they immediately needed me for questioning, but then they didn't interrogate me after CBI judicial custody was over. They just wanted him in jail,” Sibal said.
Earlier on Tuesday, ED opposed in the Supreme Court the bail plea of Congress leader P Chidambaram in the INX Media money laundering case claiming that he used the "influential office" of finance minister for "personal gains" and laundered proceeds of crime to conceal "tainted money".
In a counter affidavit filed in the apex court, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) alleged that Chidambaram is not entitled for bail as sufficient evidence has come on record that he has been "indulging in destruction of evidence" and influencing the witnesses.
Chidambaram, being a former cabinet minister, is "very intelligent and influential man", the ED claimed, adding that his mere presence can intimidate witnesses at this stage and there is direct evidence which shows that he has pressurised the witnesses to not join the investigation.
"In the present case the petitioner (Chidambaram) who held a very high and influential office of the finance minister of the country, used the same for personal gains, personally, as well as in connivance with his co-conspirators and has laundered the proceeds of crime to conceal the tainted money," the ED said.
The 74-year-old former finance minister has approached the apex court challenging the Delhi High Court November 15 verdict which denied him bail in the INX Media money laundering case.
The matter was listed for hearing on Tuesday before a bench headed by Justice R Banumathi which adjourned it for Wednesday as Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who is appearing for the ED, was busy arguing in a separate matter before another bench of the top court.
With PTI Inputs