NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to former Union Minister P Chidambaram in the case filed by CBI in the INX media case.
A bench headed by Justice R Banumathi granted bail to Chidambaram on the bail bond of Rs 1 lakh and two sureties of the same amount.
The apex court also sets aside all findings by the Delhi High Court on merits of the case but asked Chidambaram to deposit his passport in the trial court and directed him to seek permission from the competent court if he wants to leave the country.
Chidambaram, however, will not be a free man even after getting bail as he will remain in custody of Enforcement Directorate in money laundering case in INX media case.
The apex court made it clear Chidambaram shall be released if not wanted in any other case. However, Chidambaram is in ED’s custody till October 24.
Last week, CBI had filed the chargesheet against father and son Karti Chidambaram and 12 others in the INX media corruption case for causing huge losses to the taxpayer in return of kickbacks.
Opposing the bail plea, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench that the 74-year-old Congress leader poses a flight risk and could also influence a witness.
“He is the person who has given his statement under section 164 of the CrPC that he was being influenced and intimidated. We do not wish to disclose his identity even in the charge sheet,” Mehta said adding that Chidambaram tried to influence this person when he was out.
“He is not Indrani or Peter Mukherjea but he is the person who has reasonably known the things and his statement forms part of the charge sheet. Statement of Indrani Mukherjea is also a part of the charge sheet,” Mehta told the bench.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta also told the bench that Chidambaram's office visitors' register was destroyed, which was a crucial piece of evidence.
“But documents from Hotel Oberoi, Delhi has records of Peter and Indrani Mukherjea stay March 6 to 9. Hotel car was used by them. Money was asked from them for overseas travel,” Mehta said adding that both Indrani and Peter Mukherjea met Chidambaram even before filing the FIPB approval application and recorded their statement in which they categorically stated that they were asked to deposit money and make overseas transactions.