New Delhi: S Bhaskaraman, Karti Chidambaram’s chartered account, was granted bail by a Delhi court on Tuesday in the INX Media money laundering case.
Special CBI Judge Sunil Rana granted bail after the counsel for the CA pleaded that "no purpose was served by keeping him in custody”.
The Patiala House Court judge granted the relief to the CA and asked him to furnish a bail bond of Rs two lakh and a surety of like amount. He was also asked not to leave the country without the court’s permission.
Bhaskararaman sought bail on the ground that he was not required for custodial interrogation and no purpose would be served by keeping him in custody.
The CA was sent to jail on February 26 on expiry of his custodial interrogation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which had arrested him on February 16 from a five-star hotel in the heart of the national capital
Bhaskaraman's counsel had submitted before the court that on Feb 18 a request by Enforcement Directorate was made that all files be given to it for inspection and all files were subsequently given.
However, the ED's demand for books of accounts could not be complied with as "Bhaskaraman was in custody”.
"All facts are same as given in summons. The only ground in the ED application is that investigation is crucial… The entire offence against me is based on documentary evidence which is in possession of ED since 2015. Then what purpose will they serve by keeping me in custody?" Bhaskaraman had argued.
But ED Counsel had strongly rebutted the bail plea and stated that granting bail to Bhaskaraman would mean "shattering the investigation" at this stage.
"When searches by ED were made, a hard disk was recovered in 2015. We are not experts and we need time to examine. There is another company of Bhaskaraman, Advance Strategic Singapore, and we doubt funds have been routed there. We apprehend that all the material has been routed there. It's an open and shut case," the ED had argued.
The ED had alleged that to avoid any punitive action, INX Media entered into a criminal conspiracy with Karti. Later, the FIPB unit of the finance ministry had not only granted illegal approval but also misinformed the investigation wing of the Income Tax Department.
ED had alleged that INX Media had deliberately and in violation of the conditions of the approval made a downstream investment of 26 per cent in the capital of INX News Pvt Ltd without specific approval of FIPB, which included indirect foreign investment by some foreign investors, and generated Rs 305 crore foreign direct investment in INX Media Pvt Ltd against the approved foreign inflow of Rs 4.62 crore.
The counsel for Bhaskaraman had also attempted to move an anticipatory bail application on March 12 before Judge Rana as it feared that after ED, CBI would seek custody of Bhaskaraman. However, the Delhi court judge had then declined the request to move such an application at this stage.