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INX Media case: SC grants bail to Congress leader P Chidambaram

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram (File)

The Supreme Court granted bail to senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday on a personal bond of Rs 2 lakh with two surety of like amount. The apex court has said that Chidambaram will not leave the country without prior permission of the court.

A three-judge bench of the apex court comprising Justices R Banumathi, AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy pronounced its verdict hearing the plea by Chidambaram seeking bail in the INX Media money laundering case.

Reading the judgement, Justice As Bopanna said that economic offences will fall in the category of grave offences. The apex court has restrained Chidambaram from issuing public statements or give press interviews in connection with the INX Media case. The court also said P Chidambaram should not temper with the evidence and not influence the witnesses.

The apex court’s verdict came after Delhi High Court refused him bail citing gravity of the offence.

Ahead of the judgment, Karti Chidambaram expressed confidence that his father would be set free after over 100 days in prison. “Today will be a positive day,” he said.

The former Finance minister has been lodged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail for more than 100 days since he was first arrested by the CBI on August 21 in the INX Media corruption case. He was granted bail by the top court on October 22. The ED had arrested him on October 16 in the money laundering case. The apex court pronounced its verdict on Wednesday hearing the money laundering case filed by the ED.

The CBI registered a case against the 74-year-old leader in May 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.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had reserved judgement on Chidambaram’s appeal challenging the November 15 verdict of the Delhi High Court denying him bail in the case. The ED had argued in the apex court that the 74-year-old former FM continues to wield “substantial influence” on crucial witnesses in the case even from the custody. On the other hand, Chidambaram had said that the agency was trying to “destroy” his career and reputation by making baseless allegations.

Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and A M Singhvi represented the former union finance minister in Supreme Court.

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Source: Financial Express