INX media case: HC seeks ED response on P Chidambaram bail plea

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The Delhi High Court has sought the response of the Enforcement Directorate on a bail plea of P Chidambaram in the INX media money-laundering case.

The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought the response of the Enforcement Directorate on a bail plea of senior Congress leader and former Union finance minister P Chidambaram in the INX media money-laundering case.

Justice Suresh Kait issued a notice to the ED on the bail application and asked the agency to file its reply within a week.

The court fixed the matter for further hearing on November 4.

Chidambaram, 74, who was granted bail by the Supreme Court on Tuesday in the INX media corruption case, is under the ED's custody that ends on Thursday.

He was arrested by the CBI on August 21 in the INX Media corruption case.

 

The case was registered 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 CBI on October 18 filed its charge sheet naming Chidambaram and several others as accused in the INX media corruption case.

The trial court took cognisance of the charge sheet on October 21 and subsequently, on October 22, the apex court granted him regular bail in the matter.

The senior Congress leader has sought bail in the money laundering case, saying the apex court has held that he is neither a "flight risk" nor is there a possibility of "his absconding from the trial".

He has further contended that one of the conditions imposed on him while being granted anticipatory bail in the Aircel Maxis case was that he cannot leave the country without informing the trial court.

He has also contended in his application that both the CBI and ED case arise out of the same financial transaction and therefore, there cannot be separate remand for both.

Another ground he has cited for grant of the relief is that the other accused, including his son Karti Chidambaram, in the INX media corruption and the money laundering cases are out on bail.

 

He has claimed in his application that he "has made no attempt to suborn witnesses, tamper with documentary evidence or in any other manner pollute or obstruct the judicial process".

The application contends that since all the evidence in the case is documentary and is in the custody of investigating agencies, he cannot tamper with it.

The plea further claims that Chidambaram was always available for questioning by the ED and had appeared before the agency and answered all questions on all the four dates he was summoned, the last being February 8.

He has further said that no attempt was made by ED to question him, till October 16, while he was lodged in Tihar Jail since September 5.

On October 16, the ED interrogated Chidambaram in Tihar Jail and then formally arrested him "for the specious reason of being evasive" during questioning, the plea claimed.

The application has also contended that Chidambaram's health condition is "fragile" as he is 74-years-old and suffers from various ailments, including coronary artery disease.

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