Former finance minister P Chidambaram.
New Delhi: While denying anticipatory bail to P. Chidambaram, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday observed the former Finance Minister was the "key conspirator" in the INX media case. "Facts of the case prima facie reveal that the petitioner is the kingpin, the key conspirator in this case," it said.
"The facts persuade me to decline pre-arrest bail to the petitioner, while refraining to comment on merits of the case," said Justice Sunil Gaur.
"It is a classic case of money laundering. The twin factors, which have weighed to deny pre-arret bail to the petitioner are gravity of offence and evasive replies of the petitioner to questions put to him while he was under protective cover," the order said.
On January 25, the Delhi High Court had reserved its order on Chidambaram's bail plea in the case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
On March 11, the high court allowed the CBI to file additional documents on record to support its case against Chidambaram in the case.
The investigating agencies had opposed Chidambaram's bail plea, saying custodial interrogation of the former finance minister was necessary as he was evasive and had given false information during questioning.
Chidambaram is on interim protection from arrest by the Delhi High Court. The ED and the CBI are probing how his son Karti Chidambaram managed clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in 2007 when his father was the Finance Minister.
Karti was arrested on February 28, 2018 by the CBI for allegedly accepting money to facilitate the FIPB clearance to INX Media. He was later granted bail. His chartered accountant S Bhaskararaman was also arrested and released on bail later.