HC stops Karti's counsel from making remarks on Indrani's statement

HC asks ED not to arrest Karti Chidambaram in INX Media case till March 20

The court also said the HC would deal with any plea for interim protection.

The bench, which also comprised Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, asked Mehta as "What if Karti is arrested by ED as soon as he is released by CBI from its custody?"

Karti and his chartered accountant will now reportedly be interrogated together.

Meanwhile the court extended the judicial custody of Bhaskararaman by another 14 days.

The ASG Tushar Mehta said the matter was at a crucial stage of probe, and should not be granted any interim relief as there was "cogent, substantial, reliable and unimpeachable material" against him.

Earlier, he sought bail from the court alleging that the CBI was acting at the behest of the Centre to malign the reputation of his father during whose tenure Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance was granted to the INX Media group.

"Based on the information received during the interrogation, raids have been conducted yesterday and day before at the office of Advantage Strategic Pvt Ltd". It had registered an ECIR, the ED's equivalent of an FIR, against the accused named in the CBI complaint. The agency still has the option of keeping him in custody for three more days under the law which mandates 15 days of police custody, subject to a court order.

Karti was arrested on 28 February at the Chennai airport on his return from the UK. As a result, the accused's blood pressure shot up and he faced medical problems, he said.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra passed the order on Karti's plea despite strong opposition from Enforcement Directorate that the plea should not be allowed to be withdrawn but heard and disposed of. P Chidambaram was present during the proceedings, both in the high court and the trial court, while his wife Nalini, also a senior advocate, was there in the trial court. It was also alleged that Karti was not cooperating with the investigating agency.

It was a day of highs and lows for Karti.

The beleagured Karti found a measure of relief today after the Delhi high court granted him interim protection from being arrested by the ED in a money laundering case. "They are supposed to be independent and not lean in anyone's favour", he said.

Senior counsels Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Karti Chidambaram, told the court that they were apprehending sequential arrests of their client by the ED after he is freed from the custody of the CBI, which is separately probing the case.

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