The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday granted bail to former union minister P Chidambaram in INX Media case registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Chidambaram had filed a plea in the apex court against the order of the Delhi High Court that dismissed his bail plea in the INX Media case.
A three-judge Bench of Justice R Banumathi, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hrishikesh Roy granted bail to Chidambaram. The SC granted him bail on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh. Chidambaram has to make himself available for interrogation, the top court stated. During the hearing of the case, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing on behalf of the CBI, had said that Chidambaram should not be granted bail in the case till the trial of the case starts and statements of key witnesses are not recorded.
At the same time, on behalf of Chidambaram, his lawyer Kapil Sibal tried to assure the court that Chidambaram would not leave the country. The High Court had also admitted that Chidambaram is not in any position, so he cannot tamper with the evidence nor can he leave the country.
The SC on Tuesday observed that the judgement of the Delhi High Court is set aside and Chidambaram be released on bail if not required in another case. He shall not leave the country without the trial court`s permission. This judgement of the top court will not have any bearing on the other case.
The Congress leader, who is currently in judicial custody in Tihar jail, had filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) days after the High Court dismissed his bail plea contending that he might influence the witnesses in the case.
The case pertains to an FIR registered by the CBI for alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to INX Media to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 by Chidambaram when he was the finance minister. The CBI had arrested Chidambaram on August 21.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is investigating the alleged offence of money laundering that arose out of the FIR. While the CBI arrested him in August, he was booked by the ED last week. He is currently lodged in Tihar jail till October 24.