On Friday, interim bail was granted to six bureaucrats who were a part of the INX Media Case by a Delhi Court. The court then further issued a notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on their bail plea as well as putting up the matter for next hearing on December 17. The six bureaucrats who were granted bail were a part of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) which granted approval to INX Media during P. Chidambaram's tenure as the then Finance Minister of the country.
Those who moved the bail plea include Ajeet Kumar Dungdung, the then Section Officer, and Rabindra Prasad, the then Under Secretary and Prabodh Saxena, Director, FIPB unit of Finance Ministry, Pradeep Kumar Bagga, the then Officer on Special Duty (OSD), Anup K Pujari, the then Joint Secretary and Sindhushree Khullar, Additional Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs.
The CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the 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 the Finance Minister. Thereafter, the Enforcement Directorate had lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2017. Chidambaram was first arrested by the CBI in connection with the INX Media case on August 22 from his New Delhi residence but was granted bail by the Supreme Court two months later.The CBI had then filed a charge-sheet against 14 accused, including P Chidambaram, his son Karti Chidambaram, his accountant S Bhaskaran, former INX Media director Peter Mukerjea, INX Media, INX News, Chess Management Services Private Limited, Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited, and a handful of bureaucrats.
The accused were charged for the criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and for taking gratification and criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act. Indrani Mukerjea, former INX Media director, was pardoned after she turned approver in the case. The CBI in its charge sheet also revealed that Karti Chidambaram had influenced public servants to extend favours to the INX Media and also used false invoices to demand an illegal gratification of Rs 10 lakh from the company. The investigating agency had then told the court that it has necessary sanctions to prosecute all the accused, including the public servants, in the case.
The interim bail is a temporary bail for a period in which the court can ask for documents to be presented which are required to make a final decision on the bail application. Subsequently, it can either grant permanent bail, extend interim bail or reject bail application altogether.