The Delhi High Court on Friday granted bail to Karti Chidambaram, son of senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, in the INX Media case. Karti has to furnish a bail bond of Rs 10 lakh. The order was delivered by Justice S P Garg who had reserved his verdict on March 16 after hearing arguments on behalf of Karti and the CBI which had opposed granting of relief to him.
The CBI had earlier contended that bail should not be granted to Karti Chidambaram as he has already destroyed evidence in the case and was an “influential” person. Karti’s counsel, however, argued that no case under the Prevention of Corruption Act was made out against him since the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had neither questioned any public servant nor made them an accused in the matter.
Denying allegations of tampering evidence, Karti’s counsel told the court that when the CBI had not sought his further custodial interrogation, there was no reason for him to be kept in judicial custody. His lawyers also pointed out that no one else has been arrested in the case.
Karti’s counsel also claimed that the CBI was trying to connect him to a private company, Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt Ltd, which had received an alleged bribe of Rs 10 lakh despite not being related to it. The CBI had initially alleged that Karti received Rs 10 lakh as a bribe for facilitating the FIPB clearance to INX Media. It had later revised the figure to $1 million (about Rs 6.50 crore at the current exchange rate and Rs 4.5 crore in 2007).
The case — being probed by the CBI — pertains to alleged irregularities in Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance to INX Media for receiving funds close to Rs 305 crore from overseas when Karti’s father was Union finance minister. On February 28, Karti Chidambaram had been arrested by from Chennai following his return from the United Kingdom in connection with the FIR lodged on May 15 last year.
Karti’s arrest last month was triggered by fresh evidence provided by the incarcerated former INX Media director, Indrani Mukherjea. She is currently lodged in a Mumbai prison in connection with the case of murder of her daughter Sheena Bora.
In the separate money laundering case arising out of the corruption matter, the Delhi HC had on March 9 directed the Enforcement Directorate not to arrest or take any coercive action against Karti. The protection was later extended by the court till March 22. Subsequently, the Supreme Court had transferred the ED case to itself.
After the relief in INX Media Case, Karti has filed anticipatory bail plea against CBI and ED in a case relating to FIPB clearance to M/S Global communication holding services Ltd in the Aircel Maxis case.