INX Media case: PC applies for bail, challenges custody

P Chidambaram is currently lodged in Tihar Jail (File Photo)

Former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday approached the Delhi High Court for regular bail in the INX media case registered by the CBI and for quashing of the order sending him to Tihar jail under the judicial custody.

74-year-old senior Congress leader contended after his “illegal” arrest on August 21, and post 15 days maximum permissible custodial interrogation, the investigation against him has come to end and thus he ought to be released on bail.

In a separate petition, Chidambaram sought a direction to quash the trial court's order of September 5 remanding him to the judicial custody till September 19, saying there was “absolutely no ground for it”.

Expressing readiness to abide by any condition for bail, the petitioner contended that he was a senior citizen suffering from various disease. He also maintained that he had always cooperated with the investigating agency and did not have any propensity to evade the process of law.

Questioning the order to send him to judicial custody, he said none of the grounds like flight risk, tampering with the evidence and influencing witnesses were present in his case.

He also pointed out other accused – his son, Karti, S Bhaskararaman, Indrani and Peter Mukerjea had already been granted bail in the case. He also said none of the FIPB officials was arrested or sought to be arrested.

“During his custody, he has been confronted by then undersecretary R Prasad, OSD P K Bagga, director Prabodh Saxena, joint secretary Anup Pujari and additional secretary Sidhushree Khullar of the department of economic affairs, who were involved in the process of the FIPB file pertaining to INX media. All of the whom affirmed the correctness of the clearance and denied any illegality in the approval,” his petition stated.

He also contended during 55 hours of questioning, he was not confronted with any materials relating to allegations of “foreign accounts”, or the “properties owned abroad” or the “shell companies”.

Chidambaram also pointed out that the FIR was registered 10 years after on May 15, 2017, and he was arrested 12 years after on August 21, 2019 in the case “borne out of political vendetta” by the CBI “at the behest of central government, which wants to malign his untainted and unimpeachable reputation”.

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