Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram moved the Supreme Court on Monday challenging the Delhi High Court verdict which dismissed his bail plea in the INX Media money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate.
The matter was mentioned before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) S A Bobde where senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, sought urgent listing of the plea.
Sibal told the bench, also comprising justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, that Chidambaram has been in jail for around 90 days. “We will see,” the bench told Sibal, adding that the bail plea would come up for hearing either on Tuesday or Wednesday.
The Delhi High Court had on November 15 dismissed Chidambaram’s bail plea in the case filed by the ED, saying prima facie allegations against him are serious in nature and he played an “active and key role” in the offence.
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. Chidambaram, who was arrested by the ED in the money laundering case on October 16, is presently in judicial custody till November 27 under the order of a trial court.
The CBI had registered the case on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007, during Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister. Thereafter, the ED had lodged a money laundering case in this regard in the same year.
While denying him bail in the ED case, the high court had said that the entire community is aggrieved if economic offenders, who ruin the economy of the state, are not brought to books.
The high court had said if bail is granted to Chidambaram in such a case of economic offence, wrong message will go to the public at large.
Chidambaram had sought bail in the high court saying as the evidence is documentary and in the custody of probe agencies, he cannot tamper them and the ED had opposed his plea on the ground that he has tried to influence and threaten witnesses.