The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday granted bail to former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in the INX Media money laundering case filed by Enforcement Directorate (ED). The bail comes with a caveat that he can’t travel overseas.
Chidambaram has also been asked to not make any kind of contact with the witnesses in the case. Further, the Apex court held that Chidambaram would not be allowed to make public statements or participate in interviews with media with regard to this case.
The Congress leader has been behind bar for 106 days so far.
The CBI, on 15 May, 2017, had registered a first information report (FIR) against Chidambaram for alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance provided to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of ₹305 crore in 2007 when he was the finance minister. FIPB falls under the finance ministry. The money laundering case by ED dates back to 2018.
The foreign funds eventually brought in by INX Media were in excess of those approved, which then became a reason for allegations of money laundering.
Chidambaram was first arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) on 21 August in the INX Media case and was granted bail by the top court on 22 October. The enforcement directorate then arrested him on 16 October in the money laundering case.
The Apex court bench, comprising Justices R Banumathi, AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, also directed Chidambaram to submit bail bond of ₹200,000 plus two sureties as condition for his bail.