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‘Not a single charge framed against me’: P Chidambaram walks out of Delhi’s Tihar jail after 106 days in custody

Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram walked out of Delhi’s Tihar jail on Wednesday after the Supreme Court granted him bail in the INX Media money laundering case registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

As he walked out of the jail, Chidambaram said even after 106 days, “not a single charge framed against me.”

Earlier, P Chidambaram’s son Karti, a Congress MP, said the veteran Congressman will visit party president Sonia Gandhi after his release. 

“I am glad my father is finally coming home. Supreme Court has given relief after the unwarranted 106 days of jail. The plan is to call on Congress President Sonia Gandhi after my father comes out of the jail,” Karti said. 

He added that the Rajya Sabha MP will also be attending the Parliament session tomorrow.

Chidambaram had been lodged in Tihar Jail since September 5 after his arrest on August 21 in a corruption case related to the alleged scam being probed by the CBI and ED. He was granted bail by the Supreme Court on October 22 in the INX Media corruption case, filed by the CBI.

But before that, the ED had arrested him on October 16 in the money laundering case related to INX Media scam.

After the Delhi High Court rejected his bail plea, the former Union minister challenged the order in the apex court. 

On November 15, the Delhi High Court had rejected his bail plea and observed that prima facie allegations against him were serious in nature and he played an ‘active and key role’ in the offence.

During the SC hearing, ED stressed that Chidambaram continues to wield ‘substantial influence’ on key witnesses even from custody.

In granting bail to Chidambaram, the Supreme Court said the claims by the ED that he can tamper with evidence cannot be accepted on “face value” as he is neither in “political power” nor holds any post in the government.

While setting aside the November 15 order of the High Court, a bench headed by Justice R Banumathi, also comprising justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, said Chidambaram “shall not tamper with evidence or attempt to intimidate or influence the witnesses.”

The court has ordered him not to leave the country without specific orders of the trial court and he will have to make himself available for interrogation during further probe as and when required by the ED.

The CBI is probing the corruption allegations against Chidambaram while the ED is looking into money laundering allegations against him in the case.

On May 15, 2017, the CBI had registered a case against INX Media Private Limited for alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to the media group.