NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Friday granted bail to Karti Chidambaram, son of former Union Minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media case. Justice S P Garg directed Karti to furnish a surety of Rs 10 lakh and asked him not leave the country without taking prior permission from the CBI which is probing the case.
“There appears no possibility of the petitioner fleeing from justice. His parents are senior advocates, he has family to take care of, he has roots in the society and is not a previous convict,” the order stated.
Meanwhile, Karti has approached the High Court seeking protection from arrest from CBI and Enforcement Directorate in the Aircel-Maxis case.Karti was arrested on February 28 for allegedly taking money to facilitate Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media in 2007 when his father was the Finance Minister in the UPA government.
According to CBI, alleged irregularities were committed in giving INX Media clearance to receive Rs 305 crore in foreign investment.The court also cautioned Karti not to contact the prosecution witnesses or temper with evidence or criminally intimidate any witness in any manner.The court also asked Karti not to close any of his bank accounts in India or abroad without informing the CBI about.
Karti was arrested from Chennai in connection with an FIR lodged on May 15 last year.The CBI had initially alleged that Karti received Rs 10 lakh as a bribe for facilitating FIPB clearance to INX Media. It had later revised the figure to $1 million (about Rs 6.50 crore at the current exchange rate and Rs 4.5 crore in 2007). In its 27-page order, the High Court said no explanation has been offered by the CBI for the “inordinate delay in lodging the FIR.”
It also noted that according to the recorded statements of FIPB officers who were at the helm of affairs of the Board at the relevant time, they do “not attribute or assign any specific and definite role to the petitioner in the crime”.“None of the senior officers claimed to have ever been approached or influenced in the grant of approvals by the petitioner. The said senior officers did not name any official in the FIPB who was ever prevailed upon by the petitioner or his associates to impact their decision.
“During the entire investigation, none of the public servants have been identified or apprehended so far who was allegedly approached or influenced by the petitioner to scuttle the action against INX Media for the irregularities or illegalities committed by them,” the court said.
Karti’s lawyers, during arguments, had contended that no case under the Prevention of Corruption Act was made out against him.The fresh evidence in the case, which triggered Karti’s arrest, was based on a statement of Indrani Mukerjea, former director of INX Media (P) Ltd.
Aug 10: Madras HC stays the LOCs issued against Karti and four others
Aug 14: SC stays Madras HC order staying Centre’s LOC issued against Karti
Dec 8: Karti moves SC challenging summons issued by the CBI in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.
Feb 16: Karti’s CA S Bhaskararaman arrested for allegedly assisting him to manage his “ill-gotten wealth” in India and abroad
Feb 28: Karti is arrested by the CBI at the Chennai airport and brought to Delhi. Delhi court sends him to one-day police custody
Mar 12: Special court sends Karti to 12-day judicial custody till March 24. Declines his plea for early hearing of his bail plea
Mar 23: Delhi HC grants bail