Explained: Why HC rejected Chidambaram’s anticipatory bail plea in INX Media case
New Delhi, Aug 21: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram suffered a major setback on Tuesday after the Delhi high court dismissed his anticipatory bail in the INX Media scam and called him the "key conspirator" in the case.
The 24-page judgment by the court said that the scam appears to be a "classic case of money laundering" and the gravity of offence committed in the case amply justifies denial of pre-arrest bail to the former Union minister.
Here are the key observations made by high court about the case and the alleged involvement of Chidambaram:
Facts of the case prima facie reveal that petitioner (Chidambaram) is the kingpin, that is, the key conspirator in this case. Law enforcing agencies cannot be made ineffective by putting legal obstacles in offences in question.
The economic crimes of such mammoth scale are craftily planned and executed.
It is a classic case of money laundering and the twin facts which have been weighed to deny pre-arrest bail to him are "gravity" of the offence and "evasive" replies given by him to questions put to him while he was under protective cover extended to him by this court.
It cannot be forgotten that the petitioner (Chidambaram) was the finance minister at the relevant time and he had given FDI clearances to INX Media Group for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore.
Simply because he is a Member of Parliament would not justify grant of pre-arrest bail to him. The magnitude of the offence dissuades this court to grant bail to the petitioner.
It is preposterous to say that prosecution of the petitioner is baseless, politically motivated and an act of vendetta ... The offenders must be exposed, no matter what their status is.
This court is of the prima facie opinion that custodial interrogation of petitioner is required for an effective investigation.
Taking note of huge magnitude of conspiracy angle qua the petitioner, it would be pre-mature to jump to a conclusion that the provision of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) would not apply to the instant case, as it cannot be said that the amount involved is below Rs 30 lakh. Rather money laundering involved in this INX Media scam is Rs 305 crore and Aircel-Maxis scandal is Rs 3,500 crore.
In this case, in view of the enormous material placed on record in respect of distinguished entities, various transactions, etc, this court unhesitatingly opines that bail plea is not acceptable.
Meanwhile, Chidambaram approached the Supreme Court to appeal against the HC order and was asked to mention the plea on Wednesday morning.