NEW DELHI :
The Supreme Court on Tuesday set aside a Delhi High Court order and granted bail to former finance minister P. Chidambaram in the INX Media corruption case registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The top court order comes 61 days after the senior Congress leader’s arrest.
Delhi High Court had on 30 September denied bail to the Congress leader on the ground that he can influence witnesses.
The three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice R. Bhanumathi, clarified that its order will not have any bearing on the money laundering case filed by the enforcement directorate (ED). Chidambaram is currently in ED custody.
The bench, also comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, said Chidambaram will not be allowed to leave the country without the permission of the trial court and has to make himself available for interrogation when required.
The bail was granted on executing a bail bond of ₹1 lakh, and two sureties.
Chidambaram had challenged the high court order dismissing his bail plea in the money laundering and corruption case.
While the CBI opposed his bail plea citing flight risk, tampering with evidence and influencing witnesses, the high court had said Chidambaram was not a flight risk nor could he tamper the evidence since the documents pertaining to this case were with the investigating agency and the court.
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. Chidambaram was arrested on 21 August.