New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to Congress leader and former Union minister P. Chidambaram in the INX Media money laundering case.
While saying that Chidambaram had satisfied the conditions required for bail, the bench criticised the Delhi high court for judging the bail plea based on the merits of the accusations, LiveLaw reported.
According to The Hindu‘s legal correspondent, the judges places certain strict restriction while granting the former minister bail. He is not allowed to give interviews to the media or make public statements about the case, must make himself available for interrogation, cannot leave the country without permission and furnish bail bonds of Rs 2 lakh with two sureties.
SC’s bail conditions:
Bail bonds of 2 lakh with 2 sureties subject to satisfaction of Special Judge; Passport will remain confiscated; PC will not be able to leave country without permission; He will make himself available for interrogation; He will not give any press interviews
— Krishnadas Rajagopal (@kdrajagopal) December 4, 2019
Chidambaram has spent 106 days in jail. A bench headed by Justice R. Banumathi had on November 28 reserved judgement 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 arguments, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had claimed in the apex court that the 74-year-old former finance minister continues to wield “substantial influence” on crucial witnesses in the case even from the custody, while he said that the agency cannot “destroy” his career and reputation by making baseless allegations.
Opposing his bail plea, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED, maintained that economic offences like money laundering are grave in nature as they not only affect the nation’s economy but also shake people’s faith in the system, especially when is committed by people in power.
Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the former union finance minister, had countered Mehta’s submissions and said there was neither any evidence linking Chidambaram directly or indirectly with the alleged offence nor there was any material to show that he had influenced witnesses or tampered with any evidence.
Chidambaram was first arrested by the CBI on August 21 in the INX Media corruption case and was granted bail by the top court on October 22.
The ED had arrested him on October 16 in the money laundering case.
The CBI registered its case on May 15, 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.
(With PTI inputs)