INX media case: Supreme Court reserves judgement on Chidambaram's bail plea

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Updated: Oct 18, 2019, 07:46 PM(IST)

File photo: P Chidambaram Photograph:( Zee News Network )

Story highlights

Chidambaram was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. A special court had on Thursday sent him to the ED custody till October 24.

The Supreme Court on Friday, after hearing from all the parties, reserved the verdict on a petition filed by former Union Finance Minister and senior Indian National Congress leader P Chidambaram against a Delhi High Court order which had dismissed his bail plea in the INX Media case.

A bench headed by Justice R Banumathi reserved the judgement on the bail hearing plea after hearing arguments from the counsels of Chidambaram and CBI.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the CBI, said, "Illegal investment comes into INX and that the investment also goes out without permission (downstream). There was a downstream investment into other companies of INX without any application. A very scientific and professional investigation has resulted in this charge sheet."

"Sometimes, the position of the accused is such that his presence is enough to influence and intimidate the witnesses. At least till some part of the trial is conducted and some material witnesses are examined, the court will face this situation. Chidambaram should not be granted bail until some of the crucial witnesses are examined in the trial in INX media case. This is not a usual bail application," Mehta added.

The CBI said that that people are witnessing an era where persons who are accused of financial offences are fleeing the country.

"We have people who have fled the country. They all were responsible people and had a reputation standing in society. They had properties in the country. I am not comparing. We, as a nation are facing this problem. I am not comparing but arguing on this principle. We can't take the risk again," Mehta said.

Lawyer Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, said that putting a person in jail for a longer period of time and incarcerating him does not do any good to criminal jurisprudence. "They should present a strong case for arrest after filing charge-sheet," he said.

"If their charge sheet has found me guilty, then let them prove it in court during the trial. There is no point to bring it all here in a matter of bail. I will answer the allegations in the trial," Sibal added.

As Sibal started his arguments, Mehta raised an objection to his reference to the 2G spectrum case.

Sibal said, "I can argue the way I want. " Mehta on the other hand, replied, "Don't bring up fairytales."

Sibal replied to Mehta saying, "Sometimes you threaten, sometimes you interrupt."

Amidst the pandemonium, Justice Bhanumathi stepped in and said, "Then sometimes you both smile, laugh and talk to each other."
Sibal said that Chidambaram never submitted an application to travel out of the country.

"Chidambaram never gave an application to travel out of the country. Where can he run away? The world knows him. Can we escape trial? It's a spurious, unreasonable and thoughtless to say he has flight risk," he said.

"Solicitor General Tushar Mehta makes the unique argument that Chidambaram will come to the conclusion that he is bound to be convicted and will run away.

What is this new jurisprudence? He has never even once applied for foreign travel," the advocate added.

Sibal alleged that it is a clear purpose of CBI to seek further custody of Chidambaram in order to humiliate him.

Earlier in the day, the CBI filed a chargesheet in a Delhi Court here in connection with the INX media case. P Chidambaram, his son Karti Chidambaram, former media baron Peter Mukerjea among others have been named in the CBI chargesheet.

Chidambaram was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. A special court had on Thursday sent him to the ED custody till October 24.

Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar, while sending Chidambaram to the custody, allowed an application filed by the Congress leader seeking western toilet, home-cooked food, medicine and a separate cell.
In August, the senior Congress leader was booked by the CBI to probe the charges of corruption in the same case.

In the CBI case, the court extended his judicial custody in Tihar jail till October 24.

The case pertains to an FIR registered by the CBI for alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to INX Media to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 by Chidambaram when he was the Finance Minister.

ED is investigating the alleged offence of money laundering that arose out of the FIR.

(With inputs from ANI)

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