SC grants bail to P Chidambaram in INX Media case

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to former Union finance minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Chidambaram will finally walk out after spending over 100 days in Tihar Jail.

The top court directed Chidambaram that he should not temper with the evidence and not influence the witnesses.

Moreover, he should not give press interviews or make public statements in connection with this case.

The case was heard by a bench of justices R Banumathi, AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy.

The bench also directed Congress leader to furnish a bail bond of Rs 2 lakhs along with 2 sureties of the same amount.

The former finance minister cannot travel abroad without the Court’s permission, the top court said.

The court on November 28 had reserved judgment on the appeal filed by Chidambaram, who has challenged the November 15 verdict of the Delhi High Court denying him bail in the case.

During the hearing, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) opposed Chidambaram’s bail plea, claiming that he was influencing the witnesses even while in jail. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for ED, told the bench headed by Justice R Banumathi that economic offenses are of serious nature as they not only affect the economy of the country but also hurt the confidence of the people in the system. The bench also consists of Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hrishikesh Roy.

On the other hand, on the application for bail by giving the example of CBI case, the ED said that the witness and the material in both the ED and CBI cases are different. In such a situation, Chidambaram cannot be granted bail on the basis of the CBI case. The ED said that the accused’s time spent in jail should also not form the basis for granting bail.

On October 22, the Apex Court granted bail to P Chidambaram in the CBI case related to INX Media.

However, the Congress leader continued to be in custody of Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the money-laundering case.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to probe alleged irregularities in the grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval to the INX Media group.