The Supreme Court Tuesday granted bail to Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram in connection with the INX Media case. The apex court said Chidambaram, 74, could be released from Tihar if he is not wanted in any other case. It added that its judgment would not have any bearing on any other proceedings. Chidambaram is currently in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate which arrested him last week.
A bench headed by Justice R Banumathi and comprising Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy directed Chidambaram to deposit his passport and said he could not leave the country without obtaining permission from the Court. It also ordered him to furnish a bond of Rs one lakh and two sureties.
Chidambaram had challenged a September 30 order by the Delhi High Court denying him bail in the CBI case.
Chidambaram, who is in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), is being probed for alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007. Chidambaram was Union finance minister at the time.
In May 2017, the CBI had registered an FIR in the case. The ED later lodged a money laundering case in the matter.
Last week, the CBI filed a chargesheet on the alleged corruption in the case. It named named Chidambaram, his son Karti and 12 others including former bureaucrats of the Ministry of Finance. It said Chidambaram, as Finance Minister, had “demanded illegal gratification… in the form of overseas payoffs for himself” and guarantees for “the business interest of his son” in exchange for FIPB approval of INX Media’s FDI proposals.
Chidambaram has denied any wrongdoing, and rejected the charges levelled at him by the two agencies.