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Published On: Tue, Oct 22nd, 2019

Top Court Grants Bail To Chidambaram In INX Media Case, But Can’t Walk Free

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mp6675l_chidambaram-pti_625x300_03_September_19NEW DELHI : Former finance minister P Chidambaram, who spent 2 months in custody of enforcement agencies and jail, was on Tuesday granted bail by the Supreme Court in the INX media corruption case filed by the CBI.
There is, however, no chance of Chidambaram walking free on bail as of now because the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has already taken him into its custody in the money laundering case related to INX Media scam. Mr Chidambaram was in Tihar, Asia’s largest prison facility, for more than a month.
Supreme Court, which ruled that there is no possibility of the former Union Minister absconding and “no whisper” of any evidence that he tried to influence even one witness. But Mr Chidambaram will not be released as he remains in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate.“The CBI has no direct evidence against the  said the bench also comprising justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy in its 27-page judgement.
He was arrested by the CBI on August 21 in the corruption case, which was registered on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007, during Chidambaram’s tenure as the finance minister
Chidambaram, 74, was arrested by Central Bureau of

Investigation(CBI) officials from his Jor Bagh home here in a late night drama on August 21. A city court on October 18 remanded the Congress veteran to the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) custody till Thursday after multiple spells of CBI and judicial remand.

Setting aside the Delhi High Court’s September 30 verdict denying bail to Chidambaram, the apex court said he is neither a “flight risk” nor there is a possibility of “his abscondence from the trial”. Chidambaram had moved the apex court challenging the high court verdict. The court, however, made it clear its order will not have any bearing in any other proceedings.
The statement made by the CBI that Chidambaram has influenced witnesses and there was a likelihood of his further influencing them cannot be the ground to deny bail to him when there was “no such whisper” in six remand applications filed by the agency before the trial court, it said.
Rejecting the CBI contentions that Chidambaram tried to influence two material witnesses in the case, a bench headed by Justice R Banumathi said no details are available as to “when, where and how those witnesses were approached”.
“There are no details as to the form of approach of those two witnesses either SMS, e-mail, letter or telephonic calls and the persons who have approached the material witnesses.”

The INX Media case involves allegations that Mr Chidambaram, as Finance Minister of the country, facilitated foreign funding for the company INX Media – co-founded by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea – in 2007 and his son Karti received kickbacks for it.
Mr Chidambaram, Karti Chidambaram and 13 others including senior bureaucrats and private companies have been accused in a CBI charge-sheet of causing losses to the government. The charge-sheet alleges the Chidambarams received Rs. 9.96 lakh as bribes.

Peter Mukerjea is also an accused but Indrani Mukerjea, who has turned approver against Mr Chidambaram, does not face charges. Both Peter and Indrani Mukerjea are currently in jail in connection with the murder of Indrani’s daughter Sheena Bora.(With Agency Inputs ).





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