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INX Media case: Ruling on Chidambaram’s plea for regular bail on Wednesday

Former Union Finance Minister and Congress leader P. Chidambaram.

Former Union Finance Minister and Congress leader P. Chidambaram.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

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The ED had arrested P. Chidambaram on October 16 in the money laundering case.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday will pronounce its order on former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s plea for regular bail in the money laundering case in the INX Media case. 

A three-judge Bench led by Justice R. Banumathi will pronounce the judgment, which is authored by Justice A.S. Bopanna. The other judge is Justice Hrishikesh Roy.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the Enforcement Directorate (ED), had argued that economic offences affect the national economy. The public will lose faith in democracy if a former minister accused of money laundering is granted bail. People will surmise that economic offences, which are a class apart, committed by persons who occupied high offices is viewed with a “permissive eye” by the court. A wrong message will be sent, he said.

Before the court reserved the case, Mr. Mehta informed the Bench that he would pass on three sealed covers allegedly containing documents and evidence in the case.

Mr. Chidamabram had moved the appeal against the Delhi High Court's decision to deny him bail on November 15.

In the last hearing, senior advocate Kapil Sibal argued that all the ED did all this time was make empty allegations against Mr. Chidambaram in court. They had not shown a shred evidence to back their claim that he was involved.

Mr. Sibal said what Mr. Mehta said about the devastating effects of economic offences to the nation was very true but the latter had still not been able to prove how that was relevant in this case where there was no proof of any crime committed by the senior Congress leader.

“Show one property, one bank account, one telephone call, one recovery from my premises involving me in this case... Can they show one evidence to prove my involvement? Throughout their [ED] affidavit, have they shown one fact associating him... All they have on him are allegations without proof, now how do I counter that in court?” Mr. Sibal contended.

Senior advocate A.M. Singhvi said the ED was merely trying to use oral arguments to prejudice the court against Mr. Chidambaram.

The INX Media case concerns the grant of FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) approval in 2007-08 during Mr. Chidambaram’s tenure as Finance Minister. The FIR was registered after almost a decade. 

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2019 3:49:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/inx-media-case-sc-to-pronounce-verdict-on-chidambarams-bail-plea-on-wednesday/article30150411.ece

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