Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P. Chidambaram was granted bail today in the Supreme Court, in the INX Media corruption case. The former Union minister will, however, continue to remain in jail.
Earlier, Delhi HC had denied bail on Sept 30th and this was challenged by P. Chidambaram in the Supreme Court.
The bench comprising Justices R Bhanumathi, A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, reserved judgement on Oct 18th and today SC has granted conditional bail to P. Chidambaram.
The bench granted bail to Chidambaram on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh with one surety of the like amount.
The bench made it clear that Chidambaram will not leave the country without prior permission of the court and make himself available for interrogation as and when called by the probe agency. This grant of bail has no bearings on other proceedings which are against him, Court clarified.
The bench also said the high court should not have gone into the merits of the case while deciding Chidambaram’s petition.
During the hearing, CBI drew the attention to the Delhi HC judgment which cited that P. Chidambaram, who is a senior advocate and former Union Cabinet Minister, may be able to destroy the evidence and potentially influence witnesses. SC dismissed the appeal filed by CBI and granted conditional bail to P. Chidambaram.
Although P. Chidambaram is granted bail in the case filed by CBI, he is still in the custody of ED in INX Media case.
The CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007, during Chidambaram’s tenure as the finance minister.
On Aug 21st 2019, Chidambaram was arrested in connection with the graft case by the CBI, which has recently charge-sheeted him and others, including his son Karti and some bureaucrats, for causing loss to the exchequer by allegedly committing offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code.
Thereafter, the ED lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2017.
Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Shingvi argued for P. Chidambaram, whereas Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for CBI. Kapil Sibal argued in SC that Chidambaram should be granted bail in the case as he was neither a ‘flight risk’ and nor there was any possibility of him tampering with the evidence.