INX Media Case: ED says it doesn’t want custody of P Chidambaram

INX Media Case: ED says it doesn’t want custody of P Chidambaram

Aditi Singh

The Special CBI Court at Rouse Avenue Court Complex today reserved its order on the surrender application filed by P Chidambaram in connection with Enforcement Directorate (ED) case filed against him in the INX Media case.

The matter was heard today by Special CBI Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar.

At the outset, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Court that the ED does not want custodial interrogation of Chidambaram for now. He added that the Court would be approached as and when the same is required.

Stating that the accused cannot guide the mode and manner of investigation or dictate when he could be arrested, Mehta argued that the application for surrender was not maintainable.

Mehta informed the Court that for a “purposeful” interrogation of P Chidambaram, the Agency wished to first interrogate six people in connection with the INX Media case.

Further justifying why the Agency did not want P Chidambaram’s immediate custody, Mehta said that till the time Chidamabarm remains on judicial custody, there was no threat of tampering with evidence of influencing the witness.

Appearing for the former Union Minister, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal said that the ED clearly wanted to take Chidambaram into custody on August 20.

“There is no doubt about it that they wanted to arrest me at that point of time. Now they want to prolong my incarceration…This is a punitive measure to ensure that I continue to be in judicial custody for as long as it can be extended.”

He went on to add that the accused always has a right to surrender before the Court. Mehta countered,

“I represent a different agency now. It is probing the PMLA case. If it is taken that an accused has the right to choose when to be arrested, there would be serious repercussions.”

The Court went on to reserve its order in the matter. The order will be pronounced at 2 pm tomorrow.

Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI in connection with the INX Media case on August 21, a day after the Delhi High Court denied his anticipatory bail plea. Both the CBI and the ED had sought his arrest in the case.

He was thereafter sent to custody on August 22 in the case filed by the CBI. The Court went on to extend the CBI’s custody of P Chidambaram till August 30, and then later till September 5.

On September 5, the Court sent Chidambaram to judicial custody till September 19. On the same day, the Supreme Court rejected Chidambaram’s plea seeking anticipatory bail in the ED case.

Read ED’s reply:

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