AUGUST 20, 2019
NEW DELHI, INDIA – A team of Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate officers reached former finance minister P Chidambaram’s house on Tuesday evening after the Delhi High Court dismissed his pre-arrest bail requests. The senior Congress leader wasn’t at home.
The move comes just three hours after the Supreme Court registry told his legal team that Chidambaram would have to wait till tomorrow morning to approach the judges. The Delhi High Court, which had heard his request for anticipatory bail in the INX media case, had rejected his request.
Justice Sunil Gaur of the high court cited two factors in declining the request — that Chidambaram had been evasive in his replies to the court and that the case is of a grave nature.
The judge also said Chidambaram couldn’t be treated on par with other accused in the INX Media case who are out on bail because he was the finance minister when he approved foreign direct investment in the broadcasting company. And he “cannot be given pre-arrest bail simply because he is a sitting MP.”
“Facts of the case prima facie reveal that petitioner is the kingpin, i.e., the key conspirator in this case. Law enforcing agencies cannot be made ineffective by putting legal obstacles of offences in question,” the court order read.
Rejecting the allegations of political vendetta, the court said, “It is preposterous to say that the prosecution of the petitioner is baseless, politically motivated and act of vendetta”. It also said that the “court cannot permit the prose in this sensitive case to end up in smoke like it has happened in some other high profile cases”.
The INX Media case being investigated by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The case relates to alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to the media group for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 307 crore when Chidambaram was finance minister. The CBI had registered a first information report in the case on May 15, 2017 alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance, the Enforcement Directorate lodged a money laundering case a year later.