Former Union Minister P Chidambaram, arrested in the INX Media money laundering case, was released from Tihar on Wednesday after the Supreme Court granted him bail. Walking out after 106 days of incarceration, the Congress leader said “not one charge (was) framed against me” during that duration.
The senior Congress leader met party president Sonia Gandhi shortly after his release from jail. Speaking to reporters, Chidambaram said, “I am happy that Supreme Court has passed an order granting bail and I am happy that I have stepped out and breathing the air of freedom after 106 days.” The former finance minister said he will address a press conference on Thursday.
Chidambaram, 74, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with irregularities in granting FIPB clearance to INX Media. Scores of Congress workers greeted the former Union minister as he stepped out of the prison.
Taking a jibe at Chidambaram, BJP leader Sambit Patra said the Congress leader “has joined an elite “OOBC” (out-on-bail-club).”
His son Karti, who was waiting outside the jail, said he was elated as his father was all set to return home. “It has been a long wait. I am very grateful that the Supreme Court has given him bail. I am very grateful to entire top Congress leadership, including Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra who have supported him through all this,” PTI quoted him as saying.
Earlier today, a three-judge SC bench headed by Justice R Banumathi set aside a Delhi High Court order dismissing Chidambaram’s bail plea but agreed that the charges against him could be treated as ‘grave’. The senior Congress leader, however, was restrained by the apex Court from giving any press interviews or making public comments regarding him or other co-accused in the INX Media money laundering case.
While the CBI is probing alleged irregularities in granting of FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when P Chidambaram was Union Finance Minister, the ED is investigating the money laundering allegations.
Chidambaram has been in custody since August 21 when he was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the INX Media corruption case. On October 16, the ED arrested him in the money-laundering case.
Six days later, on October 22, the apex court had granted him bail in the case lodged by the CBI. The CBI had registered its 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. The ED lodged a money laundering case after that.
(Inputs from PTI)