The Supreme Court on September 2 said that former Finance Minister P Chidambaram won't be sent to Tihar jail for now in the INX Media corruption case.
The apex court asked Chidambaram to approach the concerned court for interim protection.
It also said that if the trial court rejects his bail plea, his CBI custody will be extended till September 5.
A bench of justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna directed CBI to file its response on Chidambaram's plea challenging the non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued against him and the subsequent orders of the trial court remanding him to CBI custody in the case.
Senior Congress leader and Supreme Court lawyer Kapil Sibal, who is representing Chidambaram, pleaded before the court that the former home minister should not be sent to Tihar jail. He said that Chidambaram was arrested pursuant to the NBW and he has been in the CBI custody for last 12 days.
"He is a 74-year-old man. Put him under house arrest (sic), no prejudice will be caused to anyone," he told the court.
Remand orders of the trial court can be set aside by the apex court and Chidambaram should be given interim protection till the top court decides his petition, Sibal added.
"He (Chidambaram) has to file regular bail plea," the bench said, adding, "The competent court is seized of the matter. Why should we skip the jurisdiction of the regular court and the High Court?"
To this, the senior advocate said that if Chidambaram is sent to Tihar jail under judicial custody, his petition would become infructuous.
Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj, appearing for CBI, opposed the grant of any interim protection to Chidambaram and said that an accused cannot say that he want to be in either police custody or judicial custody.
Sibal said that Chidambaram will be produced before the trial court today after the expiry of his CBI custody and if he would be sent to Tihar under judicial custody, his petition before the apex court would become infructuous.
"Give me (Chidambaram) interim bail or put me in house arrest. He is a 74-year-old man and has been in CBI custody for last 12 days," Sibal said.
The bench said that Chidambaram can make a request in this regard before the trial court.
Sibal said however that the trial court would "reject" his request and the top court should give him protection till the pending petition is decided.
The bench, after hearing the submissions, directed Chidambaram to approach the trial court seeking appropriate relief in accordance with the law, including prayer for interim bail.
It said in case the prayer for interim bail is not considered by the concerned court, then Chidambaram's CBI custody will be extended by three more days.
The bench said it would hear Chidambaram's plea on September 5.With inputs from PTI