New Delhi: Delhi High Court on Friday reserved its order on former finance minister P. Chidambaram’s regular bail application in the INX Media money laundering case.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Enforcement Directorate (ED), argued that the court should not lose sight of the gravity of the present offence. He also submitted that the gravity of offence in the ED matter is a much grave offence than the offence committed in the CBI corruption case.
He presented before the court a letter given by one of the witnesses, in a sealed cover. Justice Suresh Kumar Kait had asked to show statements of witnesses that suggest Chidambaram tried to influence the witnesses.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for the 74-year-old Congress leader, said Chidambaram influencing witnesses while being in custody is one of the rarest possibilities. Chidambaram, through his bail application, said that he did not have the propensity to evade the process of law, and has been available for investigation throughout.
Delhi High Court on 1 November had disposed off the interim bail application of Chidambaram relying on AIIMS Medical Board report, which opined that the senior Congress leader need not be admitted to a hospital in the case. Justice Suresh Kumar Kait had issued direction to Tihar Jail Superintendent to keep Chidambaram's cell clean, provide mineral water etc. Chidambaram is currently lodged in Tihar Jail in the case. The former union minister had sought an interim bail on the grounds of ill health.
A special court on 30 October had sent the veteran leader to judicial custody till 13 November in the case.
The former Union minister has now spent over two months in the custody of investigation agencies and Tihar jail.
The CBI, on 15 May, 2017, had registered an FIR against Chidambaram for alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance provided to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of ₹305 crore in 2007 when he was the finance minister. The money laundering case by ED dates back to 2018.