A CBI court here on Friday granted interim bail to six bureaucrats who were part of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) panel which granted approval to INX Media, in the case involving former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.
Chidambaram was also produced before the court. The court issued notice to the CBI on the bureaucrats' bail plea and has now posted the matter for hearing on December 17.
Special CBI Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar directed all the bureaucrats to furnish a bail bond of Rs 2 lakh each and one surety of like amount.
The six bureaucrats are - Ajeet Kumar Dungdung, then section officer of FIPB unit, Ministry of Finance; Rabindra Prasad, then under secretary FIPB unit, Ministry of Finance; Pradeep Kumar Bagga, then OSD, Department of Economic Affairs, Finance Ministry; Prabodh Saxena, Director, FIPB Unit, Finance Ministry; Anup K Pujari, then Joint Secretary (Foreign Trade) Department of Economic Affairs; and Sindhushree Khullar, then Additional Secretary Department of Economic Affairs.
The agency had filed the chargesheet against 14 accused -- P. Chidambaram, Karti Chidambaram, his accountant S. Bhaskaran, former INX Media director Peter Mukerjea, INX Media, INX News, Chess Management Services, ASCPL and six bureaucrats.
Of the chargesheeted, four are companies, six public servants and rest private persons. Indrani Mukerjea, former director at INX Media, has been pardoned on turning an approver in the case.
The CBI informed the court that it had necessary sanctions to prosecute all the accused, including the public servants in the case.
The accused have been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including for criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and for taking gratification and criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
P. Chidambaram, Karti Chidambaram, Peter Mukerjea are on bail. Bhaskaran is on anticipatory bail. The accused public servants were never arrested, the agency told the court.
In August, P. Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI for alleged irregularities in the Rs 305 crore FIPB clearance to INX Media in 2007 when he was Finance Minister.