The Supreme Court will hear the bail plea of former union minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media money laundering case on Wednesday (November 20). Chidambaram's lawyer Kapil Sibal had sought an early hearing on the bail plea as the senior Congress leader is in the jail for the last 90 days. A 3-judge bench headed by Justice R Bhanumathi will hear the bail plea.
The Delhi High Court earlier rejected the bail plea of Chidambaram, as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) submitted its objection to its. Justice Suresh Kath had ordered that if Chidambaram is granted bail at this stage, it will be difficult for the investigating agency to prove the money trail, including 70 benami bank accounts.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had granted bail to Chidambaram in the CBI case on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh. During the course of hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing on behalf of the CBI, had said that Chidambaram should not be granted bail till the trial in the case begins and the statements of key witnesses are not recorded.
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday, however, clarified that the controversial paragraphs pertaining to the judgement of the court denying bail to P Chidambaram contain facts relating to the case of lawyer Rohit Tandon and not of the senior Congress leader.
The said observations came up while the court was hearing an application filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeking correction of the factual errors which inadvertently and due to accidental slip have crept in paragraphs 35, 36, 39 and 40 of the order.
Justice Suresh Kumar Kait said that nowhere in paragraph 40 it is stated that the same is related to the present case (Chidambaram`s case). While disposing of the application, the court also observed that clarification regarding paragraph 35 was already issued through the court`s order on Monday.
During the course of hearing, advocate Dayan Krishnan while opposing the plea said, "Their submission is that paras in question are attributed to them as their submissions. But, their submissions in the judgement start from para 16 and continue till 31. I am opposing it on the point of maintainability."
While dismissing the contentions, Justice Kait expressed his views on news reports on the controversy and said, "This is motivated news.. You do it because you did not get the order that you want.. I can say it with responsibility that I have rightly dismissed the bail."
On May 15, 2017, the CBI had registered the case 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. The ED had also lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2017. Chidambaram was Union finance minister when the company got the FIPB clearance.
Chidambaram was first arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on August 21 in the INX Media case and was granted bail by the Supreme Court on October 22, but he was again arrested by the ED in the money laundering case on October 16. The senior Congress leader is put under the judicial custody till November 27.