INX Media case: Chidambaram sent to custody till August 26
A special CBI court sent former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who is facing probe for his alleged involvement in the INX Media case, to custody till August 26, Monday. After being arrested from his Delhi residence on Wednesday night, he was grilled for three hours earlier today. His family/lawyers can meet him for 30 minutes daily. Further, medical examination of Chidambaram would be conducted every 48 hours.
Earlier in the day, Chidambaram was produced at CBI court in Rouse Avenue. In fact, his wife Nalini and son Karti, who is also an accused in the case, reached Delhi and subsequently the courtroom. Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who is Chidambaram's legal counsel, also reached the courtroom; and so did parliamentarian Vivek Tankha. Special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar is hearing the case.
Making a case for custody, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued that Chidambaram hasn't been "cooperating" in the investigation. "Custodial Interrogation is required to confront Chidambaram with the relevant documents and other accused in the case to take the investigation further," Mehta said, and claimed that the Congress stalwart took advantage of "protective cover" provided by Delhi High Court. Reportedly, Mehta also said Chidambaram didn't submit relevant documents.
Mehta reads the Delhi High Court judgement authored by Justice Sunil Gaur, points out that the case was called a 'classic case of money Laundering'. #PChidambaram— Bar Bench (@barandbench) August 22, 2019
Meanwhile, Kapil Sibal, who represented Chidambaram, drew attention to the fact that Karti was granted bail. He highlighted that other accused like Mukerjeas and Chartered Accountant Bhaskaraman were also granted relief. By this logic, Chidambaram should also be given bail, he reportedly said. Claiming that a draft charge-sheet in the case is ready, Sibal insisted that the investigation in the case is already complete.
"Foreign Investment Promotion Board approval is given by six government secretaries, none have been arrested. This is a case of documentary evidence. He was interrogated only on one day. You (Prosecution) could have called him again. He has never skipped any interrogation," Sibal added.
To recall, the Delhi High Court refused to grant any relief to Chidambaram as it junked his anticipatory bail plea on Tuesday. This gave CBI and ED (which is probing him for money laundering charges) window to arrest him. However, he couldn't be arrested on Tuesday or on Wednesday, as he was untraceable. He later made an appearance for a press conference.
Later, on Wednesday night, Chidambaram was arrested from his south Delhi residence after a high-voltage drama. CBI officers had first reached Congress HQ to catch him when he started his press meet, but they failed in this attempt. After the 73-year-old reached his home, CBI personnel arrested him. But not before they scaled walls in full media glare. Congress slammed the manner in which CBI conducted itself.
Naturally, Chidambaram's arrest started a political slugfest with Congress accusing BJP of using CBI and ED for "revenge". In response, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Congress was trying to turn "corruption into revolution". "This is for the first time that corruption is becoming a revolution. Till now, a revolution was against corruption, now revolution is being carried out in favor of corruption," the Union Minister said.