Setback for Chidambaram, will be lodged in Tihar till October-3
Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, lodged in Tihar jail since September 5, will stay there till October 3, a special court ruled on Thursday. The Congress veteran is being probed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection to corruption in INX Media case. He was arrested from his residence on August 21 and hasn't been given a respite since.
Chidambaram is accused of facilitating the influx of illicit FDI into INX Media when he was the FM in the UPA era. His son Karti is accused of receiving kickbacks for helping Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, the founders of the media company. The unprecedented arrest of Chidambaram happened after Delhi High Court canceled his anticipatory bail plea, referring to him as the "kingpin".
In court today, Chidambaram's lawyers Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, opposed CBI's plea, moved by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, seeking an extension of judicial custody. While Sibal said there is no ground for such a request, Singhvi said the custody "cannot be for more than 4 days". Sibal also moved a plea for medical examination of his 74-year-old leader party colleague.
To note, Chidambaram complained about the lack of facilities in his cell, saying he has developed back pain as there is no chair or pillow. "There were chairs outside the room, I used to sit there during the day, now that too is withdrawn. Because I was using it, they have taken it away, now even the warden is without a chair," he said.
However, Mehta called Chidambaram's concerns a "petty issue" and exclaimed there was no need to "sensationalize it". The court, nevertheless, understood his point and approved his request for a chair, pillow, and medical examination. Interestingly, another Congress leader, DK Shivakumar, is Chidambaram's neighbor in Asia's largest prison facility. The troubleshooter of Karnataka Congress is being probed by ED for corruption.