Far from gravity, no offence against me, PC tells SC

Former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday contended before the Supreme Court that he was denied by the Delhi High Court on the basis of “gravity of the offence” even though there was no material, either email or SMS or anything else, indicating his involvement in the money laundering case registered in connection with the INX media case.

Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and A M Singhvi, appearing for him, submitted before a bench of Justices R Banumathi, A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy that the HC had on November 15 ignored the triple test theory, of looking into flight risk, possibility of tampering with the evidence and influencing witnesses by the accused and concluded that the gravity of the offencedisentitled him to bail.

“They say I am father of Karti, who is supposed to be the owner of ASPL. Payment is at his behest. Further the allegation is a well-thought scheme was crafted by the accused but where it is. All these allegations are yet to test. This is their total case. Far from gravity of the offence, there is no offence at all,” Sibal said.

“Since I am the father so I am responsible, where is conspiracy? There is no email, no SMS, nothing on record,” he added. Sibal contended the High Court had passed paragraphs from the Enforcement Directorate's affidavit as judicial findings.

Singhvi, for his part, said, “Unless there is some extraordinary circumstances, the court must not deny bail. Here, if gravity is the basis, should he remain in jail till the end of trial,” he asked, contending the legislature had defined the offences with more than the punishment of seven years or more as grave.

In case of a terrorist, serial child molester, repeated sex offenders, the gravity of the offence could be a there but in absence of any such extreme case, a mere reference to the gravity of offence will not override triple test, Singhvi said.

Chidambaram was first arrested by the CBI on August 21 in a corruption case related to INX media scam. Though the Supreme Court granted him bail on October 22, he could not walk out of prison since he was put under arrest on October 16 by the ED in a separate money laundering case.

On Wednesday, a Delhi court extended his judicial custody till December 11.

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