The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted former Finance Minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram bail in the INX Media money laundering case, registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Economic offences fall under the category of grave offences but bail should not be denied in all economic offences, said Justice AS Bopanna who read out the verdict for the three-judge bench.
Granting him bail, the top court said that Chidambaram should not tamper with the evidence and not influence the witnesses. The court further ordered him not to give press interviews or make public statements in connection with the case.
The Supreme Court also directed P Chidambaram to furnish a bail bond of Rs 2 lakhs along with two sureties of the same amount. Chidambaram has also been ordered not to travel abroad without the court’s permission.
On November 28, the top court had reserved the order on the petition filed by former finance minister Chidambaram, who is currently lodged in Tihar Jail.
The Delhi High Court had on November 15 rejected his bail plea in the INX media case stating that prima facie the allegations are serious in nature and P Chidambaram played a “key and active role” in the money laundering case.
Observing that grant of bail in the case would send a wrong message, Court said that it is not inclined to give any relief to Chidambaram. Although the court clarified that its observations are not conclusive in nature.
Chidambaram was first arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on August 21 in the INX Media corruption case and was granted bail by the Supreme Court on October 22. His arrest came after the Delhi High Court rejected his pre-arrest bail. He was in between arrested by the ED in the money laundering case on October 16.
Congress veteran Chidambaram is under probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and ED over alleged irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to INX Media for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during his tenure as Union Finance Minister.
The ED suspects the Congress leader and his son Karti of owning several immovable properties and over 16 bank accounts in other countries, which they are trying to identify to trace the money trail.