New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed the bail plea of former finance minister P. Chidambaram in the money laundering and corruption case related to INX Media. Justice Suresh Kait had concluded the hearing on the bail application on Friday but reserved an order.
In the last hearing, solicitor general Tushar Mehta had vehemently opposed Chidambaram’s bail plea, saying that if the Congress leader was granted bail he could tamper with evidence or influence witnesses. Mehta had submitted that economic offences were supposed to be treated in a different way, irrespective of the punishment meted out.
A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on 19 September had extended the senior Congress leader’s judicial custody till 3 October.
Chidambaram was arrested on 21 August from his Delhi residence.
The CBI registered an FIR in May 2017 for alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of ₹305 crore in 2007, when Chidambaram was the finance minister in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-1 government. Thereafter, the enforcement directorate lodged a money laundering cases against him.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, had earlier said the FIPB clearance for INX Media was a collective decision of six secretaries, assisted by several officers in the unit and the Department of Economic Affairs.
Sibal and Abhishek Manu Sighvi had also denied allegations that Chidambaram used the office of the country’s finance minister for personal gains.
Chidambaram, in his rejoinder, had said the ₹305 crore which came to INX Media as foreign direct investment was well within the approval limit of 46.2%.