Relief for Chidambaram after 106 days as Supreme Court grants bail in INX Media case
The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to P Chidambaram in the INX Media corruption case. Chidambaram will be walking out of the Tihar jail after being in custody for over 100 days.
- SC has granted bail to P Chidambaram after he spent 106 days in custody
- SC has restricted Chidambaram from travelling abroad and making public statements on the case
- The court has also disapproved of Delhi HC making observations on merit of the case
The Supreme Court has granted bail to P Chidambaram in ED’s case in the INX media case after the Congress leader spent 106 days since August 21 when he was arrested.
The Supreme Court was on Wednesday hearing the former Union minister P Chidambaram’s plea seeking bail in the INX Media corruption case. Chidambaram has been lodged at the Tihar Jail since August 21 when CBI arrested him in connection with the INX Media case.
While granting bail to Chidambaram, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said the gravity of offences need to be adjudged by facts and circumstances of every case. The court said, “Economic offences are grave offences. Courts have to be sensitive to the nature of the case.”
Supreme Court has directed P Chidambaram to furnish a bail bond of Rs 2 lakh along with two sureties of the same amount. The court has also barred Chidambaram from travelling abroad without the court’s permission.
The Supreme Court has also restricted Chidambaram from making any public statements or press interviews with regard to the INX Media case.
A bench headed by Justice R Banumathi had on November 28 reserved judgment on the appeal filed by Chidambaram. The senior Congress leader had challenged the November 15 verdict of the Delhi High Court denying him bail in the INX Media case
SC on Wednesday observed, “It is not a rule that bail should be denied in every case. Delhi High Court was justified in denying bail relating to gravity of the offence. However, we disapprove of the Delhi High Court making observations on the merits of the case.”
During the arguments, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had claimed in Supreme Court that P Chidambaram continues to wield “substantial influence” on crucial witnesses in the INX Media case even while being lodged in jail. Chidambaram on the other hand argued that the agency cannot destroy his career and reputation by making baseless allegations.
Opposing his bail plea, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was 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 people in power.
Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the former union finance 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 that he had influenced witnesses or tampered with any evidence.
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 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.
Thereafter, the ED had lodged a money-laundering case.