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The Economic Times

CBI urges Supreme Court to clarify during bail hearing if Chidambaram is a flight risk

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Chidambaram has so far got no relief from any court.
New Delhi: Ahead of Tuesday’s Supreme Court hearing on former Union finance minister P Chidambaram’s bail plea in the INX media case, the CBI has contested a recent Delhi High Court ruling, which had said that he was “not a flight risk” and wasn’t likely to tamper with evidence.

The high court, however, on September 30 denied him bail on the grounds that Chidambaram was an “influential person” and was likely to influence witnesses.

The CBI has urged the Supreme Court to “clarify” these observations of the Delhi high court, in a reply filed on the eve of the top court hearing on Tuesday.

A two-judge bench, led by Justice R Banumathi, will be hearing Chidambaram’s bail plea in the case.

The CBI had earlier argued that Chidambaram was a highly influential person with the ability to tamper with evidence and was also a flight risk.

The CBI said that similar instances of high-profile persons caught in corruption cases fleeing the country were not unknown. Chidambaram is currently in judicial custody. The former finance minister has denied all the charges levelled against him.

His lawyers, senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, assisted by Amit Bhandari, have argued that the prolonged incarceration of the former finance minister was a punishment by itself and was against his right to liberty.

They urged, both in the trial court and the high court, that Chidambaram had fully cooperated with CBI and ED in their investigations into the alleged money laundering case and that he should not be detained.

Chidambaram has so far got no relief from any court. The SC had initially rejected his pleas for anticipatory bail in the case. He then moved the lower court for bail and then the high court. He has filed an appeal, which will be heard in the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Chidambaram runs the risk of being arrested by the ED after he is released in the CBI case unless granted bail. The ED has already moved the CBI court seeking his custodial interrogation.

P Chidambaram is alleged to have granted FIPB clearance to the INX media deal in return for a quid pro quo to alleged shell companies linked to his son Karti, a charge which he has denied.
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