Arguing for former Finance Minister P Chidambaram's bail plea in the INX media case in the Delhi High Court, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, on Monday, has stated that there were no allegations against the former Union Minister in the case and that he was not named in the FIR. He went on to state that Chidambaram had been only called in once for interrogation in 2018 before his anticipatory bail was dismissed. The Delhi High Court had dismissed his bail plea on August 20 calling him the "kingpin" in the INX Media case. Immediately after this development, he was arrested by the CBI on August 22 from his Delhi residence.
"I am not named as an accused in the FIR. No allegations have been made against me. On August 20 my anticipatory bail was dismissed. At midnight on August 20, they (CBI) affixed a notice outside my residence asking me to appear within 2 hours for interrogation," said Sibal, representing Chidambaram.
Sibal added that Chidambaram had approached the Supreme Court which is now being viewed as his desire to flee from justice. Detailing the FIPB approval process in the INX media case, Sibal asserted that there was no evidence that any of the secretaries had influenced the ex-FM. He added that his client had been a target, while no action had been taken against the secretaries. He stated that the 305 crores that came to INX media as foreign direct investment was within the approval percentage of 46.216 percent.
"There is no allegation that I influenced the secretaries. Each of them has come and I have been confronted with them. None of them have said that I put any influence on them. No proceedings have been initiated against the secretaries but in the only one who has been arrested," he said.
Talking about the allegations against Karti Chidambaram in the case, Sibal stated that no money which had allegedly been given by Karti to the officials had been siphoned out of India. Sibal stated that there was no economic offence as a result. He then reduced the CBI's allegation to a 10 lakh bribe received by Karti. He further stated that Chidambaram and his son both had nothing to do with the company involved Advantage strategic Pvt ltd. The arguments are set to continue on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the CBI has maintained that the gravity of offenses committed by Chidambaram for which he is being investigated does not entitle him to seek any relief. It had also argued that Chidambaram had betrayed the public trust at large. It added that giving him relief would set a wrong precedent to 'zero-tolerance against corruption'. The CBI has also stated that Chidambaram posed a flight risk.
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. He is currently been held in judicial custody in Tihar Jail after a Delhi Court dismissed his plea seeking to surrender to the ED in the money laundering case of INX Media. Both agencies are still probing Chidambaram in the case.