New Delhi, December 4 (PTI): The Supreme Court has granted bail to former finance minister P Chidambaram in the alleged INX media case. After 106 days, the Congress leader will be finally stepping out of the Tihar jail.
Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Salman Khurshid as Solicitor General Tushar Mehta were present in the hearing. Reading out the judgment, Justice Bopanna said, “Gravity of an offence is required to be kept in mind. The gravity of an offence is to be gathered from the facts and circumstances of each case.”
The Bench stated that the Delhi High Court was justified in adverting to the gravity of the offence in its order denying bail. The court has imposed a few conditions on Chidambaram that he would have to co-operate with the investigation and he won’t be able to make any statement to the press. He has also been directed not to travel overseas or to tamper with evidence or influence witnesses in the case.
Chidambaram had moved the Supreme Court seeking bail in the ED case after the Delhi High Court on November 15 rejected his bail plea on the grounds that the charges are serious and grave. The High Court’s findings as regards the triple test for granting bail were, however, found to be in favour of the senior Congress leader.
A bench headed by Justice R Banumathi had on November 28 reserved judgment on the appeal filed by Chidambaram who 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 top 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 said that the agency cannot “destroy” his career and reputation by making baseless allegations.
Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and A M Singhvi, representing the former union finance minister, had countered Mr Mehta’s submissions and said there was neither any evidence linking P Chidambaram directly or indirectly with the alleged offence nor there was any material to show that he had influenced witnesses or tampered with any evidence.
P Chidambaram was first arrested by the CBI on August 21 in the INX Media corruption case and was granted bail by the top court on October 22. The ED had arrested him on October 16 in the money laundering case.
The CBI registered its case on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in an FIPB clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007, during Mr Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister.
Thereafter, the ED had lodged a money-laundering case.
(With PTI Inputs)