New Delhi: Former Union Minister P. Chidambaram cannot leave the country. All airports, immigration desks have been put on high alert.

The development came as a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice N. V. Ramana on Wednesday refused to grant interim relief from arrest to the former Finance Minister and referred the matter to Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi for urgent hearing on his anticipatory bail plea in the INX Media case.

Chidambaram's lawyer said the lookout notice stems from political vendetta as the former Minister "is not a flight risk".

Already teams of the Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate have been making rounds of his Jor Bagh residence here ever since the Delhi High Court denied him anticipatory bail on Tuesday.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta has told the top court that this is a case of "monumental money laundering". While the high court had termed Chidambaram the "kingpin" in the INX Media case.

Chidambaram has challenged the Delhi High Court order which has rejected his anticipatory bail plea on Tuesday.

On January 25, the Delhi High Court reserved order on Chidambaram's bail plea in the case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate and the the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The investigating agencies had opposed Chidambaram's bail plea, saying that custodial interrogation of the former Finance Minister was necessary as he was evasive and had given false information during his questioning.

The ED and the CBI are probing how his son Karti Chidambaram managed to get clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in 2007 when his father was the Finance Minister.

Karti Chidambaram was arrested on February 28, 2018 by the CBI for allegedly accepting money to facilitate the FIPB clearance to INX Media. He was later granted bail.

His chartered accountant S. Bhaskaran Raman was also arrested and released on bail later. (IANS)

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