Supreme Court grants Chidambaram bail in INX media case but he has to remain in jail nonetheless

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P Chidambaram

Two months after his arrest, the Supreme Court (SC) has granted bail to senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media corruption case filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

However, Chidambaram will continue to remain in jail as he is presently in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

An SC bench headed by Justice R Banumathi overruled the Delhi High Court’s September 30 verdict which denied bail to Chidambaram in the case. As per the ruling, Chidambaram will have to make himself available for interrogation as and when called by the probe agency.

Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI in connection with the corruption case on August 21. The central agency has recently charge-sheeted him, his son Karti and some bureaucrats, for causing loss to the exchequer by allegedly committing felonies under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code.

The CBI had marked 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. For this, an FIR was registered by the central agency in 2017. After which, the ED lodged a money laundering case in the same year.

Chidambaram had approached the SC challenging the September 30 verdict of the Delhi High Court (HC) which had dismissed his bail plea in the INX Media corruption case filed by the CBI. According to the HC ruling, the probe was at an advanced stage and the possibility of him influencing the witnesses cannot be ruled out and hence he was to be denied bail.

Senior advocates and Congress leaders Kapil Sibal and A M Singhvi, appearing for the former finance minister, had argued in the apex court that Chidambaram should be granted bail as he was neither a ‘flight risk’ nor was he in any position to tamper with the evidence.

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