INX Media Case: Supreme Court to hear P Chidambaram bail plea on October 15

INX Media Case: Supreme Court to hear P Chidambaram bail plea on October 15

Shruti Mahajan

The Supreme Court today issued notice to CBI in a plea by former Union Minister and Senior Advocate P Chidambaram seeking regular bail in the CBI case registered against him.

The Bench of Justices R Banumathi and Hrishikesh Roy issued notice in the petition and agreed to hear the case on October 15.

The senior Congress leader was represented by Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was present for the CBI.

The Delhi High Court had rejected Chidambaram’s seeking regular bail in the INX Media Case registered against him by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). While noting that Chidambaram was not a flight risk and was not likely to tamper with evidence, the Court said that there was a likelihood of witnesses being influenced at his instance. He thus approached the Supreme Court in appeal.

Chidambaram’s SLP states that the High Court erred in dismissing the bail application on a mere apprehension that he may influence witnesses, without any supporting material to show the same.

The fact that he has been arrested on the basis of the statements of Peter and Indrani Mukherjea – co-accused in the INX Media case – is another point brought up in the SLP. The authorities ought to have given Chidambaram an opportunity to rebut the anonymous and unverified allegations of the co-accused, the SLP states.

The INX Media case pertains to the alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance to INX Media at the time when P Chidambaram was the Finance Minister. It is the case of the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram received illegal gratification from INX Media owners Peter and Indrani Mukherjea for the clearance.

CBI had arrested P Chidambaram on August 21 after his anticipatory bail plea in the case was rejected by the High Court and the appeal against the same was pending before the Supreme Court. The anticipatory bail plea in the CBI case was later dismissed by the Supreme Court on the grounds that it had been rendered infructuous.

Chidambaram, who spent a fortnight in police custody after his arrest, was thereafter remanded to judicial custody. His plea for regular bail was rejected by the Special CBI Judge sitting at the Rouse Avenue Court Complex in Delhi. Later, bail was denied by the Delhi High Court as well. The judicial remand of the former Union Minister ended on October 3.

There is also a separate case registered by the ED against Chidambaram, in which the senior Congress leader had been denied anticipatory bail by the Supreme Court.

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