The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear former finance minister P Chidambaram’s bail plea in the INX Media money laundering case.
Chief Justice SA Bobde heading the bench, said that the court will hear the plea either on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Party colleague and Chidambaram’s council Kapil Sibal moved his bail plea and sought an urgent hearing in the Supreme Court, challenging the Delhi High Court order denying him bail.
As a setback to Chidambaram, the Delhi High Court on Friday rejected his bail plea in the INX media case which is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate.
A single Judge bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait observed that prime facie allegations are serious in nature and P Chidambaram played a “key and active role” in the money-laundry case.
“Entire community would be aggrieved if such offenders are not booked,” the court said. 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.
The ED investigating the money laundering case had arrested Chidambaram last month. He is currently under judicial custody in Tihar Jail.
The 74-year-old former Home Minister had sought bail saying since the evidence is documentary and in the custody of probe agencies, he cannot tamper them, the ED has opposed his plea on the ground that he has tried to influence and threaten witnesses.
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.
P 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.