CBI Court allows Enforcement Directorate to interrogate P Chidambaram (with option to arrest thereafter)

CBI Court allows Enforcement Directorate to interrogate P Chidambaram (with option to arrest thereafter)

Aditi Singh

A Special CBI Court at Rouse Avenue Court Complex today allowed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to interrogate former Union Minister and Senior Advocate P Chidambaram in connection with the INX Media case.

If deemed necessary, the Enforcement Directorate may arrest P Chidambaram after the interrogation.

The DoE cannot interrogate the accused without the permission of the Court he being in custody of this court. The application, therefore, sought for his production in the court for the purpose of arrest and remand. 

Therefore, in these circumstances, the DoE can seek permission to interrogate the accused and then of the grounds specified in Section 19 of PMLA  are made out, arrest the accused.

Accordingly, the application for arrest of accused is being treated as an application for interrogation of accused in ECIR.. and is allowed accordingly. “, the order reads.

Refusing to straightway allow Enforcement Directorate to arrest Chidambaram, the Court said,

“Interrogation has to precede arrest.”

The Court, however, rejected the Enforcement Directorate plea for grant of P Chidambaram’s remand on the ground that he was yet to be arrested.

After the order, ED sought the Court’s permission to interrogate P Chidambaram in the Court complex and then proceed to arrest him.

The request was however refused by the Court stating that it is not up to the dignity of a person to interrogate and arrest him in public.

The Enforcement Directorate will now interrogate P Chidambaram tomorrow in Tihar. If arrested, P Chidambaram would be produced before Court for remand.

The Court also refused to recall/cancel its order calling for production of P Chidambaram from arrest on the ground that it did have the power to do so under the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The order was passed by Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar. Chidambaram, who was in judicial custody in Tihar, was produced before the CBI Court pursuant to a production warrant.

The ED had moved the Special CBI Court last week seeking permission to arrest Chidambaram. 

The agency had sought his custodial interrogation on the ground that it was necessary to help it unravel the laundering of proceeds of crime which have been parked in foreign countries.

The arrest was opposed by Chidambaram on the ground that Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED were investigating the same transaction and thus the maximum period of police custody for the case was already over.

After hearing the parties, the Court had reserved its order yesterday.

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.  Subsequently, Chidambaram’s anticipatory bail plea in the INX Media money laundering case was rejected by the Supreme Court.

After the expiry of the maximum time period for police custody, the Court had remanded Chidambaram to judicial custody on September 5. On September 13, Chidambaram’s surrender application in connection with the ED case was dismissed by the CBI Court after the Agency contended that it did want his custodial interrogation at that time. The ED had then clarified that it would move the Court for Chidambaram’s custodial interrogation at the appropriate time.

P Chidambaram’s regular bail plea in the CBI case was dismissed by the Delhi High Court on September 30. An appeal against the dismissal is presently pending before the Supreme Court. P Chidambaram’s judicial custody ends on October 17.

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