In a humongous setback to former Finance Minister and Congress stalwart P Chidambaram, he was sent to judicial custody by a special CBI court on Thursday.
The 74-year-old will stay at Delhi's Tihar jail till September 19, the Rouse Avenue Court ruled a short while ago.
The judgment came despite Chidambaram offering to stay in the custody of Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Chidambaram is being probed by ED and CBI for his involvement in the alleged corruption in INX Media case.
Agencies believe he green-lit illicit FDI into the media organization when he was the FM, and his son Karti received kickbacks for it.
He was arrested on August 21 from his Delhi residence by CBI in a dramatic fashion. His CBI custody ended today.
As per the norm, a person who fails to get bail after his interrogation is completed is sent to judicial custody, but that didn't happen with Chidambaram.
On Tuesday, CBI informed the special court, and Supreme Court, that it doesn't want his custody anymore as grilling has been finished.
But the apex court ordered that status quo should be maintained till September 5.
After being granted interim relief, Chidambaram suffered a roadblock as SC refused to grant him anticipatory bail in the case being probed by ED.
The top court noted the charges are serious and protection might hamper the probe, making way for his arrest by ED.
Later, Chidambaram was produced before the special court, and it noted he should be sent to judicial custody.
In court, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for CBI, requested his judicial custody. Opposing this, Chidambaram's lawyer, Kapil Sibal reiterated no charge-sheet was filed.
"They say I am powerful... there is no evidence of tampering of evidence. Has a witness said anything like that?" Sibal asked on his party colleague's behalf.
Further, Sibal added, "Either I surrender and ED takes me into custody."
Sibal argued that agencies should have enough evidence before requesting judicial custody.
On this, Mehta said, "The court is dealing with a serious offense here. The court (HC and SC) twice refused to grant relief to accused."
He expressed confidence that when Chidambaram's bail plea is argued, he would produce proofs that evidence tampering is a possibility.
Finally, the court pronounced its verdict.
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