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ED opposes bail for Chidambaram in INX Media case

P. Chidambaram. File photo: R.V. Moorthy

P. Chidambaram. File photo: R.V. Moorthy  

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Granting the Congress leader bail would set a wrong precedence, says agency.

The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday opposed the bail plea filed by former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in the INX Media case, saying he is a “very influential and intelligent man” and his mere presence can intimidate witnesses.

A 47-page counter-affidavit filed by the ED in the Supreme Court said granting him bail would set a wrong precedence. The agency accused Mr. Chidambaram of having misused his high office with “brazenness and impunity”.

“It is incorrect to say that the offence involved in the present case is not an economic offence, as no public funds were involved in this case and it also not a case of bank fraud of taking money out of the country or defrauding depositors. Taking illegal gratification and then laundering the same is an economic offence,” the ED contended. It said substantial material had been recovered as evidence and the case was at a crucial stage.

Documentary evidence

The agency claimed it has documentary evidence, which includes e-mail exchanges between the co-conspirators who are laundering the money for, on behalf of the petitioner (Mr. Chidambaram) and his family members. Documentary evidence suggesting deposit of laundered money in benami properties whose beneficial owners can be traced to the petitioner and his family members. The ED said it had statements of material witnesses who were either part of the process of money laundering or were ostensible owners of the companies which were used for money laundering.

The agency said it could produce the evidence in court in a sealed cover. 

The case is listed for hearing before a Bench of three judges led by Justice R. Banumathi on Wednesday.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 2:45:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/in-sc-ed-opposes-chidambarams-bail-plea/article30090195.ece

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