Chidambaram moves SC as Delhi HC rejects bail plea in INX Media case
20 August 2019
Former union finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram has moved the Supreme Court for an urgent hearing of his anticipatory bail petition in connection with the corruption and money laundering cases related to the INX Media after the Delhi High Court rejected his petition.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal is reported to have filed the plea in the Supreme Court for Chidambaram, who is facing imminent arrest after the Delhi HC turned down his plea seeking a three-day stay on the order.
Rejecting Chidambaram’s plea, Justice Sunil Gaur of the Delhi High Court said that his status as member of Parliament and member of legal profession doesn't affect the case. Chidambaram has been questioned several times in the case in which his son, Karti, has been alleged to have received kickbacks in exchange for Chidambaram allowing the media company receive foreign investment worth Rs305 crore in 2007.
The HC order said that prima facie, the “petitioner appears to be the kingpin of the entire scam” and has not cooperated with the investigation. “Magnitude and enormity of material produced disentitle him from any pre-arrest bail,” the HC said.
The court said economic offence has to be dealt with iron hands, adding, “Investigating agencies' hand cannot be tied up in such a massive economic offence.”
Both the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate had opposed Chidambaram's bail plea on the ground that his custodial interrogation was required as he was evasive during questioning.
Both the probe agencies had contended that during Chidambaram's tenure as finance minister, FIPB clearance was granted to the media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs305 crore. ED contended that the companies in which the kick-back was transferred are directly or indirectly controlled by Chidambaram's son, Karti, and they have a reason to believe that the FIPB approval was granted to INX Media on his son's intervention.
The high court had on 25 July 2018 granted interim protection from arrest to Chidambaram in both the cases and it was extended from time to time.
The senior Congress leader's role had come under the scanner of various investigating agencies in the Rs3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal and the INX Media case involving Rs305 crore.
Chidambaram in his plea seeking anticipatory bail against imminent arrest after CBI issued a summons to him.
He also contended that at the stage, the court need not look into the merits of the case and it only needed to satisfy itself on three conditions - absence of flight risk, no risk of evidence tampering, and accused being available for further investigation.