A bench led by justice Bhanumati will hear the appeal. Chidambaram, who is lodged in Tihar jail in the case, in his appeal stated that “bail is the rule, jail is the exception” and courts should frown upon the attempt of the prosecution to use judicial custody as a kind of pre-trial punishment.
The Supreme Court will on Friday hear former finance minister P Chidambaram’s appeal seeking bail in the INX Media case. Challenging the Delhi High Court’s September 30 verdict rejecting his bail plea, Chidambaram said his continuing incarceration is in the “form of punishment” and liberty of an individual cannot be denied on the basis of “anonymous and unverified allegations”.
A bench led by justice Bhanumati will hear the appeal. Chidambaram, who is lodged in Tihar jail in the case, in his appeal stated that “bail is the rule, jail is the exception” and courts should frown upon the attempt of the prosecution to use judicial custody as a kind of pre-trial punishment. The former Union minister also said he had never attempted to approach or influence any witnesses or accused in the case.
He denied the high court’s finding that INX Media’s former promoters Indrani and Peter Mukherjea had met him and “illegal gratification” was paid. “At the outset, firstly, the petitioner (Chidambaram) denies having approached or influenced any witness or accused or even made an attempt to do so, directly or indirectly,” he said.
“Secondly, it appears that the above finding (of the high court) is based on alleged statements made by two alleged accused persons and hence can never be read against the petitioner (co-accused) and can in law never tantamount to influencing a witness,” he said in his plea.
Chidambaram further said the case did not relate to “economic offence” and there is no loss to public exchequer. He also denied the high court’s finding that large amount of money had come into the companies owned or controlled by alleged co-conspirator and his son Karti Chidambaram.
The HC earlier this week dismissed his bail plea saying the investigation was at an advanced stage and the possibility of his influencing the witnesses cannot be ruled out. A Delhi court meanwhile extended his judicial custody in the case on Thursday to October 17. The CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the 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.