P Chidambaram was granted bail today in the INX Media corruption case by the Supreme Court, which ruled that there is no possibility of the former Union Minister absconding and "no whisper" of any evidence that he tried to influence even one witness. But Mr Chidambaram will not be released as he remains in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate.
Mr Chidambaram, arrested by the CBI on August 21, had been in judicial custody in Delhi's Tihar jail until last week, when he was handed over to the Enforcement Directorate. The 74-year-old Congress leader has been granted bail in the CBI case but will remain in the Enforcement Directorate's custody till October 24 the top court said.
"The appellant Chidambaram is said to be aged 74 years and is also said to be suffering from age-related health problems. Considering the above factors and the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the view that the appellant is entitled to be granted bail," the judges said.
Rejecting the CBI's argument that Mr Chidambaram is a flight risk, the Supreme Court said the investigating agency did not provide any evidence on how the witness was influenced - "SMS, e-mail, letter or telephonic calls and the persons who have approached the material witnesses."
The Congress leader "can be released if he is not required in any other case", the court said, adding that he will have to give a bond of Rs. 1 lakh.