The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in its chargesheet has named former finance minister P Chidambaram, his son Karti and other senior government officials in the INX Media case on Friday.
The Supreme Court has also reserved its order on Chidambaram’s bail plea against a Delhi High Court order denying him bail in the corruption case.
CBI opposed Chidambaram’s bail plea and told the Supreme Court that the 74-year-old Congress leader poses a flight risk and could also influence a witness.
“The witness has given a statement that he is being influenced. We don’t wish to disclose his identity and his name has been given submitted to the CBI court in a sealed cover,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the CBI, said.
He further added that the country needs to have a ‘zero tolerance policy’ on corruption and the charges in the case against Chidambaram include forgery.
Representing Chidambaram in the case, his lawyer Kapil Sibal said, “P Chidambaram’s passport is impounded, there is a lookout notice against him and he has never applied for travel. So where is the question of flight risk? How can he run away? He is recognised all over the world.”
Sibal further told the court that while being in custody, Chidambaram lost more than 4 kg weight.”It is only to humiliate him. If the witness is influenced, it is the duty of the government to protect the witness, he hasn’t influenced anyone,” he added.
Former home minister and two times finance minister, P Chidambaram was arrested on late night of August 21 by the officers of CBI.
Chidambaram was transferred to Tihar jail under judicial custody on September 5 in connection to the INX Media case.
Later on Wednesday, he was arrested by ED in INX Media money laundering case. He was moved to ED’s custody from Tihar jail on Thursday.
The INX Media case relates to alleged irregularities in Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to the media group for foreign investment to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when Chidambaram was the finance minister.
Chidambaram and his son Karti were named by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, who owned INX Media at the time and are currently in jail in connection with the murder of Indrani Mukerjea’s daughter Sheena Bora.
The ED, in September 2017, had attached assets worth Rs 1.16 crore of Karti who is under probe for allegedly receiving kickbacks in lieu of the FIPB clearance.