New Delhi: Karti Chidambaram on Wednesday welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court to grant bail to his father and former finance minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media case after he spent over 100 days behind bars.
Taking to Twitter, Karti said: “Phew. At last after 106 days :) (sic).”
“But justice delayed is justice denied. This should have been granted much earlier. Nothing is different from three months ago,” he said.
The Congress also hailed the verdict, saying “truth finally prevails”.
Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said Chidambaram's incarceration was "vengeful and vindictive", while expressing confidence that he will be able to prove his innocence in a fair trial. Congress colleague Abhishek Manu Singhvi described the ruling as "excellent light after a rather long tunnel".
Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor was more circumspect and said "justice delayed is justice denied", adding bail should have been granted much earlier.
Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, accused the government of hatching a conspiracy against Chidambaram and said the Congress will welcome him as he is an asset to the party.
"On the orders of this government, walls were scaled of the home of Chidamabaram, a former home minister and finance minister, to arrest him as if a relative of Osama bin Laden was staying there. Such behaviour meted out to him is not appropriate," Chowdhury said.
On Wednesday, the top court granted bail to the former finance minister on a bond of Rs 2 lakh with two sureties each and asked Chidambaram not to leave the country without permission. He also cannot make public statements or press interviews with regard to the case.
A bench headed by Justice R Banumathi on November 28 had reserved judgment on the appeal filed by Chidambaram, who has challenged the November 15 verdict of the Delhi High Court denying him bail in the case.
During the arguments, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had claimed in the apex court that the 74-year-old former finance minister continues to wield "substantial influence" on crucial witnesses in the case even from the custody, while he argued that the agency cannot "destroy" his career and reputation via baseless allegations.
Opposing his bail plea, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED, maintained 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 those in power.
Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and AM Singhvi, representing the former minister, had countered Mehta's submissions and said there was neither any evidence linking Chidambaram directly or indirectly with the alleged offence nor there was any material to show he had influenced witnesses or tampered with any evidence.
Chidambaram was first arrested by the CBI on August 21 in the INX Media corruption case and was granted bail by the top court on October 22. The ED had arrested him on October 16 in the money laundering case.
The CBI registered its case on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in a FIPB clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007, during Chidambaram's tenure as finance minister. The ED afterward lodged a money-laundering case.
(With inputs from PTI)