Delhi High Court on Monday rejected the bail application of P.Chidambaram, former Finance Minister in the matter connected to INX Media money laundering case. P.Chidambaram moved the bail application after he was sent to judicial custody by the Special CBI Judge, Ajay Kumar Kuhar. The Bail Application was argued from the side of Mr. Chidambaram by Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
Delhi High Court Justice Suresh Kumar Kait said, “the fact that he (P. Chidambaram) will not influence the witnesses directly or indirectly, cannot be ruled out. Moreover, the investigation is at the advance stage, therefore, this court is not inclined to grant bail”, while dismissing the regular bail application filed by Senior Advocate & Former Financxe Minster P Chidambaram in INX Media Scam Case.
Mr. Sibal argued before the court that the Petitioner (P.Chidambaram) neither named as an accused nor as a suspect in the subject of FIR. There is no allegation against the Petitioner in the body of the subject of FIR. He further mentioned that all the other accused persons have already been released on regular bail or anticipatory or statutory bail. Therefore, there is no reason to deny the bail to the Petitioner in the terms of the parameters laid down by the Hon’ble Apex Court as well as by the High Courts in the catena of judgments. The Counsel for Petitioner further submitted that there is no flight risk and cooperation with the investigation has been at utmost level with the agencies. He stated that despite several searches and seizures done by the CBI, yet, they have found no incriminating evidences against the Petitioner. Regarding the tampering and influencing the witness, it was submitted by Mr. Sibal that the alleged events related to the year 2007-08 and the Petitioner was part of the dispensation in power for more than 6 years thereafter and there is not even an allegation that the Petitioner ever influenced any witness or tampered with any evidence. Further, he contended that Petitioner has already been confronted with 5 officers of the Ministry of Finance who were involved in the processing of FIPB proposal pertaining to INX Media.
Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta appearing for the Central Bureau of Investigation held that the FIPB approval according to the terms of foreign investors was given with the intent to indirectly benefit his son, Karti Chidambaram. He further submitted that in cases of conspiracy, it is well settled that there cannot be direct evidence and conspiracy has to be seen from the surrounding circumstances during the trial.
Delhi High Court mentioned while deciding the outcome of the plea that there are three factors that have to be seen in a bail application (i) Flight Risk (ii) Tampering with Evidence (iii) Influencing Witness. The Court mentioned that the flight risk of the Petitioner can be ensured through the surrender of passport or instruction to the airport authority to not let the petitioner leave the country. The Court was agreed that there is no flight risk considering his previous record of not flouting laws. It was further agreed by the court that tampering of evidence is also not possible in this case because most of these documents are under the investigative agency or the court.
Delhi High Court, however, did not agree to the contention of influencing the witness. It mentioned that it cannot be disputed that petitioner has been a strong Finance and Home minister and presently, Member of Indian Parliament. He is respectable member of the Bar Association of Supreme Court of India. He has long standing in BAR as a Senior Advocate. He has deep root in the Indian Society and may be some connection in abroad. But, the fact that he will not influence the witness cannot be ruled out. Accordingly, the bail plea dismissed.
-India Legal Bureau