The Delhi High Court on Friday reserved its order on Congress leader P Chidambaram’s bail application in the INX Media case, Live Law reported. Chidambaram is in Tihar Jail at present. He was sent there after a special Central Bureau of Investigation court in Delhi extended his judicial custody till October 3.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the High Court that there was a grave case to be made against Chidambaram, NDTV reported. Mehta labelled the former finance minister a “flight risk”.
“Lawmakers cannot be allowed to become law breakers,” the government counsel told the court. “We are not calling Chidambaram a flight risk because he vanished for 24 hours, but because he is accused of a serious offence. He knows conviction is likely and has the resources to flee to another country.”
Mehta said Chidambaram’s character should not be a factor in deciding if he should be granted bail. “He is a flight risk and it would be hazardous if he gets bail,” the lawyer added. “When the accused is so powerful his mere presence would intimidate witnesses.”
The goverment lawyer said corruption was a grave offence, Live Law reported. “It breaches the public trust,” he added. “It affects the financial stability of the country. It affects people’s faith in the leader.”
The CBI also submitted purported emails between INX Media and a company belonging to P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram, claiming that these emails would “prove offences committed”.
Earlier in the day, P Chidambaram’s lawyer Kapil Sibal told the court that his client had never met Indrani Mukerjea, one of the owners of INX Media. Mukerjea is in jail at present for the murder of her daughter Sheena Bora.
“Hundreds of delegations call on the finance minister,” Sibal told the court on behalf of the former finance minister. “I have no recollection of an INX Media delegation calling on me. I am certain I had never met Indrani Mukerjea at any place.” In response, the CBI claimed the register of meetings had been destroyed, but pointed to vehicular evidence from the Hotel Oberoi that allegedly proved Mukerjea met P Chidambaram.
The CBI has alleged that there were irregularities in the foreign direct investment clearance granted to INX Media by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board in 2007. The Congress leader was the finance minister at the time.
INX Media case is also being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate, which filed a money laundering case in May 2017 against Karti Chidambaram, INX Media, and Indrani and Peter Mukerjea. The former owners of INX Media reportedly told the investigating agencies that Chidambaram had asked them to meet his son and help him with his business.
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