Supreme Court grants bail to Chidambaram in INX Media case
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court granted bail to senior Congress leader P Chidambaram in the INX Media corruption case. Last week, the top court had reserved its order on the 74-year-old leader's bail plea in the case. Chidambaram is being probed on allegations of money laundering by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Here are more details.
The SC had on November 28 reserved its order on Chidambaram's petition against a Delhi High Court order denying him bail. A three-judge SC bench, headed by Justice R Banumathi, on Wednesday set aside the HC's order and granted Chidambaram bail. Although the court agreed that economic offenses are grave in nature, it disapproved of the HC's observations on the merits of the case.
Granting Chidambaram bail, the SC directed the Congress leader to co-operate with the investigation. He has been barred from tampering evidence, influence witnesses, or making public statements about the case. Chidambaram also remains barred from traveling abroad without the court's permission. Further, the court has directed him to furnish a bail bond of Rs. 2 lakh along with two sureties of the same amount.
The Congress leader's son, Karti Chidambaram, celebrated the news, tweeting, "Phew. At last after 106 days :)." Incidentally, Karti was also accused in the INX Media corruption case. Meanwhile, the Congress party tweeted, "Truth finally prevails. #SatyamevaJayate"
On November 15, the Delhi HC had denied bail to Chidambaram considering the "gravity" of his offenses. Bail was denied even as the HC observed that Chidambaram satisfied the triple test for the grant of bail: no chance of absconding, tampering of evidence and influencing witnesses. Thereafter, Chidambaram had moved the apex court, challenging the HC order and seeking bail.
To recall, Chidambaram has been in Tihar jail since September 5 following his August 21 arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which also probed the INX Media case. On October 22, he was granted bail by the SC in the CBI case. However, he was arrested by the ED on October 16. He was to remain in judicial custody till December 11.
Chidambaram stands accused of corruption and money laundering while serving as the Union Finance Minister. The corruption case was registered on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the INX Media group, facilitating an influx of overseas funds of Rs. 305 crore in 2007. Chidambaram's son Karti allegedly received kickbacks for the same.
Meanwhile, a special court on Friday also granted interim bail to all six bureaucrats who were part of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) which granted approval to INX Media. The officials include former NITI Aayog CEO Sindhushree Khullar.