40 Days and Counting: Chidambaram's Stay in Tihar Jail Gets Longer as Delhi HC Says Can Influence Witnesses
Chidambaram, who is in custody since his arrest by the CBI on August 21, did not approach the trial court and had directly filed the regular bail plea in the high court.
Illustration by Mir Suhail (News 18)
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday once again denied bail to former finance minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media case, saying the veteran Congress leader could influence witnesses.
Justice Suresh Kait denied bail to the Congress leader, saying there is no chance of tampering with evidence but there is a possibility that Chidambaram can influence witnesses.
Chidambaram, who is in custody since his arrest by the CBI on August 21, did not approach the trial court and had directly filed the regular bail plea in the high court. The former Union minister, arrested on August 21 by the CBI from his Jor Bagh residence, is in Tihar Jail under judicial custody till October 3.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram's tenure as the finance minister.
Thereafter, the ED lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2017.
Earlier, while opposing bail to Chidambaram, the CBI had said it was the "gravest case of economic offences" and the magnitude of financial embezzlement and misuse of high public office disentitles him for any relief.
The Congress has termed the former Union minister’s arrest a “political witch-hunt”, with several party leaders — interim chief Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and senior colleagues like Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel — paying him a visit in jail.
Singh, in fact, had expressed concern over Chidambaram’s continued detention in custody, saying he feared that if the minister was liable for approving a recommendation, the whole system of governance will collapse.
He said in the country's system of government, no decision can be taken by any single person and all decisions are collective decisions recorded in files.
He said a dozen officers, including six secretaries to the government, examined and recommended the proposal and Chidambaram as minister approved the unanimous recommendation.
"If the officers are not at fault, it is beyond our comprehension how the minister who simply approved the recommendation can be accused of committing an offence. If the minister is liable for approving a recommendation, the whole system of government will collapse," he said.
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