CBI seeks judicial custody while Karti wants separate prison cell
The CBI produced Karti Chidambaram in court today after his three-day police custody expired, and has now sought 15-day judicial custody, saying he remained "evasive" and "non-cooperative" during interrogation. Meanwhile, Chidambaram's counsel moved court for hearing his bail petition today itself, which is scheduled for March 15. The son of former finance minister P Chidambaram has also sought a separate cell in Tihar Jail.
According to the CBI's FIR, INX was approved by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for investment of Rs. 4.62cr, but actually received Rs. 305cr by sale of shares. When I-T launched a probe, INX allegedly took the help of Karti's companies "to get the issues resolved" by influencing FIPB officials. FIPB was under the Finance Ministry, then headed by Karti's father P Chidambaram.
In May 2017, the ED had registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), an equivalent of a police FIR, against Karti, INX Media and its former directors Peter and Indrani Mukerjea. Karti was accused of criminal conspiracy, cheating, seeking to influence a public servant, and criminal misconduct. He has "categorically denied" any wrongdoings, but reportedly has been detaching himself from suspicious properties/accounts.
On February 28, the CBI arrested Karti from the Chennai airport soon after he landed from London. He has remained in CBI custody since then. In the meantime, he was taken to Mumbai and confronted with both Indrani and Peter, who are in prison in the Sheena Bora murder case.
Karti has now sought a separate cell citing threat to life as "many terrorists have been prosecuted during (P Chidambaram's) tenure." The CBI has opposed his plea, arguing there might be threats to P Chidamabaram, but not his son. The court will pronounce its judgement on Karti's bail hearing, separate cell, and CBI's demand for judicial custody later today.