The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday countered senior Congress leader P Chidambaram’s ‘Ranga-Billa’ remark in his defence saying economic crimes were serious offences. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED, told the court that gravity of an offence has to been seen from the impact of the offence on the society. Mehta said that Chidambaram’s arguments that he’s not involved in a serious crime like 'Ranga-Billa' do not hold good.
For those whoa are unaware, Ranga and Billa were convicted of kidnapping and murder of two siblings - Geeta and Sanjay Chopra - in 1978 in Delhi that sparked nationwide outrage and were sentenced to death. The two hardened criminals were hanged in 1982.
After hearing the arguments, the top court has reserved its verdict on the plea filed by senior Congress leader P Chidambaram seeking bail in the INX-Media money laundering case.
A three-judge bench, headed by Justice R Banumathi, asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to submit in a sealed cover the relevant documents related to the case, which the probe agency wants to place on record for the perusal of the court.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED, told the court that Chidambaram continues to wield “substantial influence” on crucial witnesses even from custody.
Senior advocates Kabil Sibal and A M Singhvi, appearing for Chidambaram, told the bench that there was neither any evidence linking Chidambaram directly or indirectly to it nor there was any material to show that he had influenced witnesses or tampered with any evidence.
The apex court is dealing with Chidambaram’s appeal challenging the Delhi High Court verdict denying him bail in the case.
Chidambaram, who has been in custody for 100 days in the INX Media case, was initially arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation on August 21. The INX Media case relates to alleged irregularities in Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance granted to the group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 307 crore in 2007 during his tenure as the finance minister. Before he was granted bail in this case, the Enforcement Directorate had arrested him for offences under Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
With PTI Inputs