Chidambaram abused high office with impunity for personal gains: CBI tells SC while opposing bail

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October 15, 2019 8:37 PM

Meanwhile, Chidambaram, who was arrested by the CBI in the INX Media corruption case, on Tuesday sought bail from the Supreme Court saying the probe agency wants to keep him in jail to "humiliate him".

The agency claimed that there are cogent evidence against Chidambaram in the matter and a “strong case” against him has been made out.

The CBI has opposed in the Supreme Court the plea of senior Congress leader P Chidambaram seeking bail in the INX Media corruption case, alleging the “brazenness” and “impunity” with which he abused the high office of finance minister of India for “personal gains” disentitles him from seeking the relief. In an affidavit filed in the apex court, the probe agency said that granting him bail would not only be against the “zero tolerance policy on corruption” of the top court and the country, but would also be setting a “very wrong precedent” in all corruption cases.

“The present case is a case of economic offence which itself constitutes a class apart and is considered to be the gravest offence cutting the very root of purity and probity of public administration,” it said. “The nature of the offence, the brazenness and the impunity with which the high office of the finance minister of the country was abused by the petitioner/accused (Chidambaram) for personal gains again disentitles him from seeking bail,” the CBI said in its counter affidavit.

The agency claimed that there are cogent evidence against Chidambaram in the matter and a “strong case” against him has been made out. It said in view of the “overwhelming incriminating evidence” against Chidambaram, no relief should be granted to him. “There is every likelihood of justice being thwarted if accused in released on bail. At attempt to influence key witnesses of the case to retract from their statements have already been made by the accused/petitioner. “If enlarged on bail, it is the bona fide belief of the respondent CBI that another attempt would be made by the petitioner/accused through indirect means to influence the witnesses so as to thwart the course of justice,” the CBI claimed in the affidavit. It alleged that if released on bail, Chidambaram “poses a real and apparent danger of absconding or fleeing”.

Meanwhile, Chidambaram, who was arrested by the CBI in the INX Media corruption case, on Tuesday sought bail from the Supreme Court saying the probe agency wants to keep him in jail to “humiliate him”. Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Chidambaram, told a three-judge bench headed by Justice R Banumathi that there were no allegations against their party colleague or his family members of having ever tried to approach or influence any witness in the case. Chidambaram, 74, was arrested by the CBI on August 21 and is lodged in Tihar jail under judicial custody in the corruption case. Chidambaram was the Union minister for finance as also home during the UPA-I and UPA-II governments from 2004 to 2014.

The CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017 alleging irregularities in a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007, during Chidambaram’s tenure as the finance minister.

Thereafter, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) lodged a money-laundering case in this regard in 2017. The arguments on Chidambaram’s plea challenging the Delhi High Court September 30 verdict denying him bail in the INX Media corruption case would continue in the apex court on Wednesday.

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