After having spent 106 days in custody, former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram was granted bail by the Supreme Court on Tuesday in the INX Media case.
Chidambaram was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on August 21, following which he was granted bail by the SC in the CBI case on October 22. But ED had arrested him on October 17 in a money laundering case and he had been under its custody since then.
The apex court has directed Chidambaram to furnish a bail bond of Rs 2 lakhs along with 2 sureties of the same amount. The court has also said that Chidambaram cannot travel abroad without the court’s permission.
The Supreme Court has also restricted Chidambaram from making any public statements or press interviews with regard to the case.
A bench headed by Justice R Banumathi had on November 28 reserved judgment on the appeal filed by Chidambaram challenging the November 15 verdict of the Delhi High Court denying him bail in the case.
Today, the SC observed, “It is not a rule that bail should be denied in every case. Delhi High Court was justified in denying bail relating to gravity of the offence. However, we disapprove of the Delhi High Court making observations on the merits of the case.”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was appearing for the ED, said that economic offences like money laundering are grave in nature as they not only affect the nation’s economy but also shake people’s faith in the system, especially when it is committed by powerful people.
Countering Mehta’s arguments, senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Chidambaram said there was neither any evidence to show that the former Finance Minister tampered with evidence or influence witness nor was there any proof to show his involvement in the alleged offence.
Welcoming the SC decision, Congress wrote, “Truth finally prevails. #SatyamevaJayate.”
Chidambaram’s son, Karti Chidambaram expressed a sigh of relief on Twitter. He wrote, “Phew. At last after 106 days :)”