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The Court of Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar today remanded former Union Minister P Chidambaram to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) custody till August 26.
In its 10-page order allowing the custodial interrogation of P Chidambaram, the Court has observed,
“The allegations made against the accused are serious in nature and there cannot be any dispute with the fact that a detailed and in-depth investigation is required in the present case.. The enormity of money allegedly involved in this case and the persons who are accused necessitate an in-depth investigation.”
Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI in connection with the INX Media case last night, a day after the Delhi High Court denied his anticipatory bail plea
While dismissing his anticipatory bail plea, Justice Sunil Gaur had observed that a prima facie case was made out against Chidambaram, and that it was not a fit case for grant of pre-arrest bail.
Arguing before the Special Judge today, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought 5 days’ custody of P Chidambaram on the ground that his custodial interrogation was required to confront him with all the relevant documents in order to take the investigation further.
Mehta stated that although Chidambaram had the right to be evasive, when he refused to answer the questions that only he could, it amounted to non-cooperation.
He also alleged that Chidambaram took advantage of the protective cover provided by the Delhi High Court. He said,
“Serious, active and informed role of the accused is made out from the case diary…there is a money trail that needs to be probed into.”
Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi opposed the grant of remand.
Read a live account of today’s hearing before the Special Judge:
It was argued that all the co-accused in the case were on bail, and that the investigation in the case was over with the completion of a draft chargesheet. The Court was also informed that the case was based on documentary evidence.
It was further pointed out that the FIPB approval to INX Media was given by six Secretaries of the Government of India, and was only endorsed by then Finance Minister Chidambaram. However, none of the Secretaries have been arrested, Chidambaram’s counsel said.
Chidambaram’s counsel also claimed that he was called for interrogation only once, and there was no question of him not cooperating with the investigation.
Therefore, claiming that there has been no new development in the case, the counsel for Chidambaram contended that there was no need for his custodial interrogation.
P Chidambaram was also permitted to speak before the Court. He said,
“On June 6, 2018 (the last time that he was called for interrogation),.. please ask for the transcript which were in question answer form.. there is no question which has not been answered.
The allegation of 5 Million or whatever.. were never put to me. They only asked me if I have a foreign bank account and I said No..”
The INX Media case pertains to the alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance to INX Media at the time when P Chidambaram was the Finance Minister. It is the case of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram received illegal gratification from INX Media owners, Peter and Indrani Mukherjea for the clearance.
Karti Chidambaram was granted bail in the case by the High Court last year.