SC seeks CBI’s reply in PC bail plea rejected by Delhi HC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday sought a response from the CBI on a plea of senior Congress leader P Chidambaram against the order of the Delhi High Court that dismissed his bail plea in the INX Media case.

A bench of Justice R Banumathi and Justice Hrishikesh Roy issued a notice to the CBI and asked it to file a reply on the plea while posting the matter for hearing next on October 15.

During the brief arguments, senior advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for Chidambaram, told the judicature that the Delhi High Court in its judgment said there is no flight risk involved as Congress leader will not be absconding. He added that Delhi High Court also decided in Chidambaram’s favor that there is no risk of tampering with the evidence.

The former finance minister, who is currently in judicial custody in Tihar jail, filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) before the apex court earlier today, days after the High Court dismissed his bail plea contending that he might influence the witnesses in the case.

Refuting the contentions put forth by the apex court, the arrested leader, in the petition, asserted that he has not influenced any witnesses or accused in the case.

“A mere apprehension without there being substantial evidence and particulars of an accused approaching any witness are not enough to deny bail to an accused,” the petition read.

Alluding to certain inputs submitted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to the court in a sealed cover, the petition stated, “The liberty has thus been denied on the basis of the baseless, anonymous and unverified allegation made behind the petitioner’s (Chidambaram) back.”

Chidambaram stated that the submissions made by the probe agency in the sealed cover were “highly objectionable and against all canons of fair play and justice”.

The petition also stated that the FIR registered in 2015, did not name Chidambaram. “There is no reference or allegation against him in the FIR,” the plea asserted.

Chidambaram is facing probe for alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to INX Media to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when he was the union finance minister.

While the CBI is probing the corruption allegations, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is looking into money laundering allegations against him in the case.

The CBI had arrested Chidambaram on August 21 following which he was sent to judicial custody, which is slated to end today.