New Delhi: Former Union Minister P Chidambaram, who is in Tihar jail in the INX Media money laundering case, sought bail Wednesday in the Delhi High Court, stating as evidence is documentary and in custody of probe agencies, he cannot tamper with it.
The senior Congress leader’s counsel told Justice Suresh Kait that the prosecution’s complaint (chargesheet) has not been filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the court and how can P Chidambaram influence witnesses, when he does not know them.
Since the beginning, the probe agency’s case was never that the Congress leader tried to influence witnesses, but suddenly in October, when he was in custody, it was alleged that he had tried to put pressure and influence key witnesses, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing P Chidambaram, said.
The court, which was hearing submissions of 74-year-old Chidambaram’s counsel on his bail plea, listed the matter for hearing the ED’s arguments, November 8.
The ED, in its written response filed through advocates Amit Mahajan and Rajat Nair, has opposed the bail plea, saying the gravity of offences allegedly committed by Chidambaram does not entitle him for the relief.
The probe agency said the contention of the senior Congress leader that no offence is made out against him is ‘untenable in law’ and his plea is liable to be rejected.
Kapil Sibal referred to a Supreme Court decision that probe agencies cannot just say that a person is interfering with the investigation and that they have to give evidence.
“I (Chidambaram) do not even know who are the witnesses in the case, how will I decide in custody as to whom I have to influence. They (ED officials) did not even put this question (on influencing witnesses) to me (Chidambaram) during interrogation. They should confront me but they have not,” Sibal argued.
Chidambaram, in the bail plea filed through advocate Arshdeep Singh, has denied the ED’s claim that he used the office of finance minister for personal gains and laundered the proceeds of crime. He asserted that no material directly or indirectly linking him with the alleged offence has been put to him so far or placed before the court.
The purpose of ED’s opposition to grant of bail is not to advance the cause of justice but to harm his health which has already suffered severe damage after 75 days of custody since August 21, he said.
It should be stated here that November 1, the high court while disposing of the interim bail plea of Chidambaram, who is suffering from Crohn’s disease, had directed the Tihar jail superintendent to provide him clean and hygienic surroundings and also mineral water, home cooked food and mosquito protection nets and repellant.