Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram who made a dramatic appearance at the Congress headquarters yesterday before being subsequently arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation from his residence made a flimsy defence around the fact that his name was missing from the FIR filed by the CBI in the INX Media case and yet he was accused of economic offences in the case. He had mentioned this while addressing the press at AICC headquarters, and after that, Congress leaders and several Congress sympathisers are parroting that same argument.
On the basis of the evidence presented by CBI and ED, the Delhi Court dismissed this detail stated by Chidambaram as “inconsequential” and held him as the kingpin, that is, the key conspirator in the INX Media case. Justice Sunil Gaur, in his order, which was made available on Wednesday, rejected the former finance minister’s contestations claiming that the “gravity of the offence committed by the petitioner is remarkably evident from the case diaries”.
The court observed that not being named in the FIR is an inconsequential detail, especially when the petitioner holds the power and on whose order offences of such large proportions can be committed. The judge further added that Chidambaram cannot claim parity with other offenders who have been granted bail as the petitioner was a union finance minister at that time and commanded the authority to grant FDI clearance to INX Media for receiving a foreign investment of Rs 305 crores.
Justice Gaur stated that the time is ripe for the law to be strengthened. “It is time that the parliament gives more teeth to the law to prevent economic offenders from getting pre-arrest bail. It is the need of the hour that law comes down hard on the economic offenders.”
The order takes a cue from the Supreme Court order which said that the economic offenders should be dealt with utmost severity as the fraudulent transactions done or aided by them has a potential to affect country’s economy. “Economic crimes of such colossal scale are deviously schemed and implemented. Thus the grant of instant bail in such cases will send a wrong message to the society,” it states.
Justice Gaur observed that it is often inferred that when economic offenders secure pre-arrest bail, the probe is conducted in a superficial manner. He said that in such a scenario, mega scam cases become weaker and leaves the prosecution in a disarray. “The court cannot let this case to devolve into smoke as it happened in some other high-profile cases,” the judge said.