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Chidambaram walks out of jail in INX Media case

Chidambaram walks out of jail in INX Media case
Highlights

After 105 days in custody, former Union finance minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday night walked out of Tihar jail hours after the Supreme Court...

New Delhi: After 105 days in custody, former Union finance minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday night walked out of Tihar jail hours after the Supreme Court granted him bail in a money laundering case linked to the INX Media with some conditions like restraining the senior Congress leader from talking to the media about the case.

Chidambaram, 74, stepped out of Gate no 3 of the prison at 8.10 pm to a rapturous welcome by hundreds of Congress supporters. His son Karti was on hand to receive the Congress veteran.

Dressed in his trademark long-sleeved white shirt and dhoti, the former union minister, whose custody entered the 106th day on Wednesday with most of the time spent behind bars, was surrounded by a posse of newsmen and photographers before he was taken in a car to his Jor Bagh home.

Asked to comment on his release, a calm and composed Chidambaram, a Rajya Sabha MP, said he cannot comment on the case and will obey the Supreme Court order but hastened to forcefully add that not a single charge has been framed against him.

"The fact is that after 106 days of pre-trial incarceration there is not a single charge framed against me as I speak now," said Chidambaram, who is expected to attend the Rajya Sabha proceedings on Thursday.

The Congress leader said he will talk more on Thursday.Chidambaram has been in the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and in Tihar jail since his dramatic arrest by the CBI sleuths from his Jor Bagh home in the national capital on the night of August 21.

While the CBI is probing the corruption case linked to the INX Media, the ED is investigating the money laundering case. Allowing Chidambaram's plea for bail, the apex court also ordered that he can't leave the country without its permission and should neither try to influence witnesses nor tamper with evidence.

Setting aside the Delhi high court's November 15 verdict denying the former union minister bail, a three-judge bench, headed by Justice R Banumathi, granted relief to him on a personal bond of Rs 2 lakh with two sureties of the like amount.

The bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, restrained Chidambaram from giving any press interview or making any statements with regard to the case. The top court, which observed that economic offences are grave in nature, said "grant of bail is rule and refusal is exception".

It said the ED's claim 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. Chidambaram would have to join further investigations if asked by the probe agency, it added.

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