High Court (India)

August 28, 2019

Delhi HC Judge Who Rejected Chidambaram's Bail 48 Hours Before Retirement Appointed New PMLA Tribunal Chairman


[ By Bobby Anthony ]

P-Chidambaram-INX-Media

Former Delhi High Court judge, Justice Sunil Gaur, has been appointed as the chairperson of the Appellate Tribunal for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). He will take over the post on September 23.

Interestingly, Justice Gaur had revoked former finance minister P Chidambaram's anticipatory bails in the INX Media case by the ED and CBI merely 48 hours before his very recent retirement.

It may be recalled that Justice Sunil Gaur had retired as a Delhi High Court judge on August 23, which is merely two days after he rejected Chidambaram’s plea for anticipatory bail and called him the kingpin or key conspirator in the INX Media case.

Incidentally, he had also denied anticipatory bail to businessman Ratul Puri, nephew of senior Congress leader and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, in the AgustaWestland chopper scam.

Earlier, Justice Sunil Gaur had also heard several high profile cases. He had also passed an order clearing the decks for the prosecution of top Congress leaders, including Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, in the National Herald case.

Significantly, Chidambaram’s lawyer Kapil Sibal had alleged that the Delhi High Court order, which was used to deny Cidambaram anticipatory bail in the INX Media case, was a “cut-copy-paste job” from an Enforcement Directorate (ED) note submitted by the Solicitor General, who represents both the ED and the Central Board of Investigation (CBI).

Appearing for Chidambaram, Sibal had told a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice R Banumathi that if a court does a cut-copy-paste job of a note, which is against his client, what were the chances of getting relief from it. Sibal had also mentioned that this was done after reserving the judgement for seven months.

Sibal had argued that said the ED note had played a crucial role in influencing the final order passed by the Delhi High Court by Justice Sunil Gaur, without filing even an affidavit.

Sibal had questioned how the ED note could become a basis to deny bail to Chidambaram, and virtually became an order, when in fact the paragraphs of that note were copied from the note concerning allegations against Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram.

Certain paragraphs of the ED note were pasted as it is in the Delhi High Court order, comma to comma, full stop to full stop, word by word and para by para, Sibal had told the Supreme Court.

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