New Delhi, Aug 21, 2019 : A special leave petition was filed in Supreme Court by lawyers of former finance minister P Chidambaram seeking interim relief after the Delhi high court denied his anticipatory bail plea in the INX Media case on Tuesday, Hindustan Times reported.
Chidambaram’s plea will be put before Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to consider for urgent listing. Chidambaram’s lawyer Kapil Sibal has initially approached the court of Justice N V Ramana who said that the CJI will hear the case.
“None of the three grounds to deny bail were made out (by the HC): there is no allegation that the petitioner is likely to flee justice; or that the petitioner is likely to influence the witnesses; or that the petitioner is likely to tamper with the evidence,” said the petition filed by Chidambaram.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta opposed Chidambaram’s plea and said it is a case of “monumental magnitude”.
The INX Media case relates to irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to the group for receiving Rs 305 crore overseas funds. Chidambaram was the finance minister at that time.
CBI, ED at Chidambaram’s house after Delhi HC refuses pre-arrest bail
CBI and ED officers reached the residence of former Union Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram on Tuesday evening.
Chidambaram had approached the Supreme Court seeking protection from arrest hours after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected in the Delhi high court. Chidambaram’s lawyers were told to go to the top court on Wednesday morning.
The Delhi high court while rejecting Chidambaram’s bail plea on Tuesday pointed out two factors. The court said Chidambaram has been “evasive” in his replies to the court and cited the “gravity” of the case.
On Tuesday night, the CBI issued a notice to Chidambaram asking him to appear before the investigation officer “within two hours”. A team of CBI officers visited his Jor Bagh residence but left after confirming that the former minister was not present there.
Both the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) are probing the case. The CBI registered a first information report in the case on May 15, 2017 alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance; the ED lodged a money laundering case a year later.
Indrani Mukerjea and her husband Peter Mukherjea, who co-founded INX Media in 2007, had been charged with entering into a criminal conspiracy with Karti Chidambaram, P Chidambaram’s son. The Mukerjeas are accused of trying to get foreign investments and evade punitive measures for not having the necessary approvals from the FIPB.
Karti Chidambaram was arrested by CBI in February last year. He was released on bail in March. P Chidambaram was also questioned by the ED in January this year and on December 19 last year.