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P Chidambaram not a criminal like 'Ranga, Billa' to be denied bail, Sibal tells SC in INX Media case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) re-arrested the veteran leader on October 16 in the consequential money laundering case pertaining to routing of proceeds of crime of the INX Media corruption case.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Nov 28, 2019, 07.26 AM IST
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BCCL
P Chidambaram
The court would resume the hearing on the bail plea of Chidambaram on Thursday when Solicitor General Tushar Mehta will commence advancing arguments on behalf of ED.
NEW DELHI: Former finance minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday urged the Supreme Court to grant him bail in the INX Media case, arguing that the Delhi High Court was wrong to deny him bail over alleged ‘gravity of offence’. That is not a factor to be considered while granting bail, his lawyers told a bench led by Justice R Banumathi.

The HC had cleared Chidambaram on three counts — whether he was a flight risk, whether he had tampered with evidence and whether he had influenced witnesses.

Yet, it denied him bail on November 15, 2018, on the grounds that economic offences were grave.

“Offence allegedly being an economic offence and constituting a separate class cannot be a factor in denying bail to an accused,” senior advocate Kapil Sibal argued on behalf of Chidambaram. “A person cannot be directed to suffer pre-trial incarceration in the form of punishment even before trial for the reason that a wrong message would go out to the public at large…” Sibal pointed out that all other accused in the case were either on bail or had not been arrested, and said the former minister is no “terrorist” or “child molester”.

“I have no communication with any accused, not even an email,” he said.

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