New Delhi, Nov 27 | Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram, who has been in jail for 98 days following his arrest in the INX Media case, on Wednesday contested the Delhi High Court order rejecting his bail in the case registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
“Delhi High Court denied me bail because my release would send a wrong message to the public, as if I am some Ranga Billa”, said senior advocate Kapil Sibal on behalf of P. Chidambaram, in a reference to the murderous duo in Delhi in the 1970s, who were subsequently hanged to death for their crimes.
Sibal’s witty reply left people in the courtroom in splits.
Sibal contended before a three-judge bench headed by Justice R. Banumathi that the Delhi High Court had dismissed the ED’s arguments that Chidambaram may tamper with evidence, could possibly flee, or that he could influence the witnesses.
However, despite negating this line of argument, the High Court dismissed Chidambaram’s bail plea on grounds of the gravity of the offence.
Sibal told the bench if the ED’s argument on the gravity of the offence were to be accepted, then he might never get bail.
Sibal insisted that the investigating agency has not found even a single undisclosed property or undisclosed asset, and that the only point the agency keeps harping on is that he is Karti Chidambaram’s father.
Sibal also said there has to be a “predicate” offence before there are proceeds of the offence.
“Here the crime is Rs 10 lakh (alleged bribe in the case) while the proceeds, according to the ED run into thousands of crore”, Sibal contended.
Also representing Chidambaram, senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi told the court that extraordinary category of crimes for denying bail include offences like terrorism and habitual child molestation, but the ED is merely repeating the expression “gravity of offence”, which is not enough to deny bail.
Chidambaram has moved the Supreme Court challenging the High Court order rejecting his bail application. The arguments will continue on Thursday.