The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Congress leader P Chidambaram’s bail application in connection with the INX media money laundering case.
Justice Suresh Kumar Kait directed the agency to file a reply in seven days and fixed November 4 as the next date of hearing in the matter.
Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Chidambaram, argued that there is no evidence of tampering, influencing witness and flight risk.
“This was the observation by the top court. When 60 days in CBI were getting over and there was a chance of my bail they (ED) wanted to arrest me. Today seven-day police custody is getting over today. I would like to press for bail after the 15-day custody period is over. The ED has interrogated him only on four occasions,” Singhvi said.
Chidambaram on Wednesday moved a bail petition in the INX media case and asserted that all the other accused in the matter have been granted bail.
The ED which is probing the money laundering charges against the leader had arrested him on October 16, following which he was remanded in custody by a special court till October 24, which is also getting expired today.
“All other accused have been enlarged on bail. The petitioner has deep roots in the society and has been in the public life for 40 years,” the bail plea said, alleging that the arrest was malafide and done with an intention to harm his reputation.
Chidambaram said he does not have the propensity to evade the law. “The petitioner has throughout been available during the period of the investigation. Investigation agency did not recover or elicit any incriminating from the possession of Chidambaram during the searches,” the plea stated.
The Supreme Court recently granted him bail in the money laundering case which is being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Chidambaram was arrested on August 21 by the CBI in connection with the graft case after which the court initially remanded him to custody and later sent to Tihar Jail.
The agency has recently charge-sheeted him and others, including his son Karti and a handful of bureaucrats, for causing loss to the exchequer by allegedly committing offences under the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (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.Thereafter, the ED lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2017.