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INX Media: CBI says don’t want P Chidambaram custody, Supreme Court extends it till Sep 5
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INX Media: CBI says don’t want P Chidambaram custody, Supreme Court extends it till Sep 5

Shruti Mahajan

The Supreme Court today extended the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) over former Union Minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media case till Thursday, September 5.

Chidambaram will remain under CBI custody till then. Counsel for Chidambaram also submitted that they would not press for bail at the Special CBI Court till Thursday.

At the outset of today’s hearing, Justice R Banumathi expressed her inclination to list the matter for September 5, when another petition filed by Chidambaram regarding the Enforcement Directorate (ED) case will be taken up. The Court has reserved its order in the ED matter.

Appearing for Chidambaram, Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal argued that the maximum custody period of 15 days will end on September 5. In response, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that the CBI does not want custody of Chidambaram anymore. He said,

“We don’t want custody anymore, let the law take its own course.”

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi then suggested that status quo be maintained till September 5. He also assured the Court that they would not press for bail before the trial court till that date.

The Court then listed the matter for September 5.

Yesterday, the CBI Court said that it would hear the interim bail application moved by Chidambaram in the INX Media case today.

The order was passed in light of two consecutive developments before the Supreme Court earlier in the day.

As per the first order passed by a Division Bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice R Banumathi, Chidambaram was asked to move an interim bail plea before the CBI Court which was directed to be taken up and decided by the CBI Court today itself.

In case the bail was rejected, the Supreme Court had directed that P Chidambaram’s CBI custody be extended till Thursday.

Shortly thereafter, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta mentioned the matter before the Division Bench and urged it to take up the Chidambaram’s plea challenging the remand orders tomorrow and in the meantime, extend P Chidambaram’s custody by one more day.

The Supreme Court then allowed the matter to be listed today with a direction to the CBI to approach the CBI Court for extension of custody.

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. On August 26, the Supreme Court rejected the SLP challenging the order of the Delhi High Court denying him protection from arrest by the CBI, upon noting that the plea had become infructuous. However, the Bench granted him interim protection from arrest by the ED.