Calling CBI’s claim that he was a flight risk as “preposterous”, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Monday told the Delhi High Court that there was no possibility of him evading the “process of law” as a Lookout circular (LOC) has already been issued against him.
In a rejoinder on a CBI reply filed in the court, Chidambaram’s lawyers said it is “preposterous to even allege flight risk and that he can evade from the process of law as LOC against the accused is already issued”.
It denied the CBI’s submission that his alleged role in the INX media case was a “clear betrayal of public trust at large”.
“It is denied that the accused who held a very high and influential office of the finance minister of the country used the same for personal gains as well as in connivance with his co-conspirators. It is submitted that there is no loss to the public exchequer in this case,” the rejoinder read.
It further said: “No public funds were involved in this case and it is not a case of bank fraud or taking money out of the country or defrauding depositors or stealing money. Rs 305 crore has come to INX media as FDI well within the approval percentage of 46.21 per cent.”
Chidambaram, in the rejoinder, said that statements of Indrani Mukerjea and her husband Peter Mukerjea against him cannot be considered credible as they are “accused in a murder case”.
On Friday, the CBI filed a reply on Chidambaram’s bail petition in which it stated that granting him bail would not only go against the zero-tolerance policy on corruption but also “set a very wrong precedent” in corruption cases. “It is a clear case of betrayal of public trust at large,” the agency had said while opposing his plea in the Delhi High Court.
Submitting that there were “compelling reasons for the CBI to be cautious about the possibility of Chidambaram being a flight risk”, the agency had contended that the former Union minister was non-cooperative during the investigation and was confronted with all material available on record. “However, he remained evasive on all questions,” the agency had told the court.
The court will hear Chidambaram’s bail petition today. He is currently lodged in Tihar jail.
Chidambaram was the Finance Minister when the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) gave Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) clearance to INX Media in 2007. He is facing probe by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) for alleged irregularities in granting clearance to INX Media to the tune of Rs 305 crore.