INX Media case | Supreme Court rejects CBI’s review plea against bail granted to P. Chidamabaram

Former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram. File

Former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram. File   | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

The apex court had on October 22 last year granted bail to Mr. Chidambaram in the case saying he was neither a “flight risk” nor was there a possibility of “his abscondence from the trial”.

The Supreme Court has dismissed a CBI plea to review its judgment granting regular bail to former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in the INX Media case.

Also read: INX Media case | Enforcement Directorate submits charge sheet through email

A three-judge Bench led by Justice R. Banumathi granted Mr. Chidambaram bail on October 22. The same Bench decided the CBI’s review plea in chambers, concluding that there was no “error apparent” warranting a reconsideration of their decision to grant him bail.

The CBI argued in its review petition that the judgment contained errors apparent as it did not take into account the material placed on record to prove that Mr. Chidambaram, if allowed bail, would influence the witnesses in the case.

On the allegation that Mr. Chidambaram would tamper with evidence if released on bail, the court in its October 22 judgment said the case was based on documents already in the custody of the prosecuting agency. Hence, there was no chance of any tinkering of evidence.

The court had referred to how the CBI had alleged in the High Court that Mr. Chidambaram and his son, Karti, had approached two material witnesses for their silence. The allegation was part of a sealed cover note handed over to the High Court.

The apex court had agreed that this allegation surfaced only when the former Minister's bail came up.

Also read: INX Media case: It’s a classic case of money laundering, says Delhi High Court

“CBI has no direct evidence against the appellant regarding the allegation of appellant directly or indirectly influencing the witnesses... There are no details as to the form of approach of those two witnesses either SMS, e-mail, letter or telephonic calls and the persons who have approached the material witnesses. Details are also not available as to when, where and how those witnesses were approached”, it observed in the October judgment.

The three-judge Bench led by Justice Banumathi had refused to buy the argument made by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that, across board, accused in economic offences should be treated as a “flight risk” and denied bail.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 1:17:41 PM |

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