TLI Explains All You Need To Know About Trial Against P. Chidambaram
Former Union Minister P Chidambaram observes a moment of respite today as he walks out of jail after being in police custody for almost three months. The Supreme Court has granted him bail in the INX Media money laundering case.
Chidambaram was set free after 105 days in prison, with restrictions on his movement and interaction. He cannot travel without permission and has to present himself for questioning whenever required, the court said. The senior Congress leader also cannot make any public statements on the case, give interviews or contact witnesses.
The unfolding of the infamous INX money laundering case and how it swept the then finance minister under its fold has caught the attention of the media and the people since 2007 when the first investigation was carried out against the then Finance Minister, P Chidambaram.
Two prominent parties of India – Congress and the BJP – have been at loggerheads ever since the case got a re-toss during the BJP rule in 2017. While Congress narrates the issue as the classic case of political vendetta, BJP has maintained the stance that Chidambaram evaded punitive measures and let the laundering happen right under his nose.
What Is The Story So Far?
The INX media case was disclosed in 2008 and was related to alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in favour of the INX media group, founded by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea. The INX media received overwhelming foreign funding of around Rs 307 crore by three Mauritius based companies during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
This came to the notice of the Income Tax Department, which handed over the case to the Enforcement Directorate to probe into the violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) guidelines in 2010.
The case gained momentum in early 2018 after Indrani Mukerjee came revealed that $1-million deal had been struck between Karti Chidambaram and the Mukerjeas to secure FIPB approval in favour of INX Media. ED also found proof that substantiated the link of Karthi Chidambaram with INX media.
Later in July 2019, Irani prayed for pardon in the case in exchange for full and true disclosure of the deal that happened under the table, which the Delhi high court agreed to.
After the development on the case, in August 2019, P Chidambaram’s plea for an anticipatory bail in the case was rejected by the Delhi High Court.
Former FM was arrested by the CBI on August 21 from his residence in connection with the case. Since then, he had been under CBI custody.
Smell of Political Vendetta
Congress has been echoing the same sentiment ever since the case resurfaced. According to the opposition party, Chidambaram had been a victim of political vendetta and the investigation agency “acted on the behest of the Centre”.
The Congress’ narrative of political vendetta could be validated as even Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, on a recent statement, accused Chidambaram of being vindictive against Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, and him when Chidambaram was the finance minister.
“There is evidence for the cases against him, there have been inquiries, now the matter is sub-judice and the court will make the decision,” Gadkari said.
“We have never been vindictive, on the other hand when P Chidambaram was Home Minister during Congress rule, he filed false cases against me, he also filed false cases against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. Later, we all were proved innocent,” he added.
However, the case is still under investigation and the court has not given a clean chit to the former finance minister yet.