A three-judge bench headed by Justice R Banumathi issued a notice to ED on Chidambaram's appeal challenging the Delhi High Court's November 15 verdict dismissing his bail plea in the case.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought a response from the Enforcement Directorate on a plea filed by senior Congress leader P Chidambaram seeking bail in the INX Media money-laundering case. A three-judge bench headed by Justice R Banumathi issued a notice to ED on Chidambaram’s appeal challenging the Delhi High Court’s November 15 verdict dismissing his bail plea in the case.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for ED, told the bench he would file a response by November 25. The bench, comprising Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, posted the matter for hearing on November 26. The Delhi High Court dismissed the former finance minister’s bail plea in the ED case, saying prima facie allegations against him were serious and he played an “active and key role” in the offence.
Chidambaram, 74, was first arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation on August 21 in the INX Media corruption case and was granted bail by the Supreme Court on October 22. He was arrested by ED in the money-laundering case on October 16 and is in judicial custody till November 27 under the order of a trial court. The CBI registered its case 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 finance minister.
Thereafter, the ED lodged a money-laundering case in this regard in the same year. Denying him bail in the ED case, the high court had said that the entire community is aggrieved if offenders, who ruin the economy of the State, are not brought to books. The high court had said if bail is granted to Chidambaram in such a case of economic offence, a wrong message will go to the public at large.
Chidambaram had sought bail in the high court, saying as the evidence is documentary and in the custody of probe agencies, he cannot tamper them; the ED had opposed his plea on the ground that he has tried to influence and threaten witnesses. He denied ED’s claim that he used the office of finance minister for personal gains and laundered the proceeds of crime, and told the high court that no material directly or indirectly linking him with the offence has been put to him so far or placed before the court.