Chidambaram won't be sent to Tihar jail for now
Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram will not be sent to Tihar jail but will remain in the custody of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Supreme Court said on Monday. Inside the court, Chidambaram's lawyer and Congress colleague Kabil Sibal said the 74-year-old should not be sent to Tihar and must be "protected". Though SC accepted the plea, initially, it made a change later.
Chidambaram, who is being probed for his alleged involvement in corruption in INX Media case, was arrested in a dramatic fashion from his residence on August 21. His son Karti is also an accused. His CBI custody was increased by a special court on Friday (August 30), for a third time, till Monday. The case is being probed by both CBI and ED.
Earlier in the day, a bench including Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna heard a plea of Chidambaram challenging the order of special judge remanding him to police custody. Arguing for Chidambaram, Sibal said, "There must be some protection to Chidambaram. He is 74 years old. Let him be put under house arrest and not sent to Tihar Jail."
Consequently, the lawyer of agencies, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, said it is for the special court to decide whether or not to give protection to Chidambaram. Remarking on the matter, the court reminded Sibal that house arrest is for political cases. However, giving Chidambaram a slight relief, the bench said, "List the case on Friday... The trial court will consider the request today itself."
Further, the top court directed Chidambaram to move a bail plea in the concerned court. It added that if his application is rejected, he will not be sent to Tihar jail, Asia's largest prison facility, but will stay with CBI, which has put him up in a "suite" at the guest-house floor of its Delhi headquarters. All this action happened before lunch.
However, after lunch, things took another turn. Mehta said the initial order will be difficult to implement, and came up with an offer. Mehta disclosed that CBI will seek another day of custody of Chidambaram from a special court, and SC can take up this matter again tomorrow. The top court approved of this, and recalled its previous order, interestingly, in absence of Chidamabaram's lawyers.