Share this:

" />
Published On: Wed, Dec 4th, 2019

Top Court grants bail to PC in INX Media scam

Share This

inx-media-case-chidambaram-gets-bail-to-be-released-from-tihar-after-105-days-in-custody-1575439365NEW DELHI : Former Union Minister P Chidambaram walk out of Tihar Jail after over 106 days as the Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to the law maker in the INX Media case.He stepped outside, he was greeted by a group of Congress leaders including his son Karti.
The veteran politician was arrested on August 21 by the CBI, which is investigating allegations that as Finance Minister of the country in 2007, Mr Chidambaram facilitated a huge infusion of foreign funds into the company INX Media founded by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea.
The court granted bail on a bond of Rs 2 lakh with two sureties each and asked Chidambaram not to leave the country without permission. The former Union minister also cannot make public statements or give press interviews with regard to the case.
A bench headed by Justice R Banumathi on November 28 had reserved judgment on the appeal filed by Chidambaram, who has challenged the November 15 verdict of the Delhi High Court denying him bail in the case.
During the arguments, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had claimed in the apex court that the 74-year-old former finance minister continues to wield “substantial influence” on crucial witnesses in the case even from the custody, while he argued that the agency cannot “destroy” his career and reputation via baseless allegations.
Opposing his bail plea, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED, maintained that economic offences like money laundering are grave in nature as they not only affect the nation’s economy but also shake people’s faith in the system, especially when it is committed by those in power.
Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and AM Singhvi, representing the former minister, had countered Mehta’s submissions and said there was neither any evidence linking Chidambaram directly or indirectly with the alleged offence nor there was any material to show he had influenced witnesses or tampered with any evidence.
The CBI registered its case on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in a FIPB clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007, during Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister. The ED afterward lodged a money-laundering case.
Mr Chidambaram said he cannot comment on the case as per Supreme Court’s order, but even after spending more than three months in jail, “there is not a single charge framed against me.” The Congress Rajya Sabha member is also likely to attend parliament tomorrow, Karti said.
The former Finance Minister had challenged the Delhi High Court’s decision denying him bail. The Supreme Court criticised the High Court for making observations on the merits of the case and noted that the “triple test” was found in the politician’s favour – that he was not absconding, not tampering with evidence and he was cooperating with investigators.
The Supreme Court, noting that economic offences are grave in nature, also said “grant of bail is the rule and refusal is exception”.
There was no material to indicate that Mr Chidambaram “or anyone on his behalf had restrained or threatened a witness”, the top court said.
The court said it was not fair to make a ruling based on documents in sealed cover, as the High Court judge had done. “”While the judge was empowered to look at the materials produced in a sealed cover to satisfy his judicial conscience, the judge ought not to have recorded findings based on the materials produced in a sealed cover.”
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “Mr P Chidambaram’s 106-day incarceration was vengeful and vindictive. I’m glad that the SC has granted him bail. I’m confident that he will be able to prove his innocence in a fair trial.” Senior Congress leaders including Sonia Gandhi had visited Mr Chidambaram in jail in a show of support. Last month, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi also visited him.

“Phew, at last after 106 days,” tweeted Karti Chidambaram moments after the Supreme Court decision. The BJP’s Sambit Patra jibed that Mr Chidambaram had joined the “OOBC (Out On Bail Club)” of the Congress.
(With Agency Inputs ).


About the Author

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>