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The Special Court at Rouse Avenue Court Complex today extended the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) over former Union Minister P Chidambaram till September 2.
Submitting that P Chidambaram had only been partially interrogated, the CBI through Additional Solicitor General KM Natraj sought the custody to be extended by 5 days.
Given the voluminous documents in the case and the need to confront P Chidambaram with them, more time for custodial interrogation was needed, Natraj said.
On being asked why the CBI did not seek P Chidambaram’s custody for 15 days on the first day itself, Natraj said that the Congress leader had a “peculiar approach” and took a lot of time to answer questions.
“It was dependent on his answers during interrogation. You can see how many questions were put to him.”
The CBI also informed the Court that P Chidambaram was being questioned for 8-10 hours every day. It was further submitted that before the Supreme Court, Chidambaram had himself offered to remain in custody.
Clarifying this stand, Senior Advocate Dayan Krishnan, appearing for Chidambaram, said,
“Yesterday, in the Surpeme Court, we sought an urgent hearing against the two remand orders but no hearing before Monday was possible. Therefore, without prejudice to our rights, we told the Supreme Court that we were willing to wait in custody.”
Krishnan then added that till date, no document/evidence had been shown. He claimed that “no shred of evidence” had been produced, in spite of Chidambaram being subjected to 400 questions asked over 55 hours.
To further clarify his stand, P Chidambaram said that he was opposing the CBI’s remand application, as there was “no justification” to keep him in custody anymore.
He nonetheless added that before the Supreme Court, counsel from both sides had mutually agreed to extension of custody till September 2, in view of the fact that the challenge to the remand orders would be taken up on that day.
Chidambaram further added that he had instructed his counsel to oppose the extension of remand if it was sought on merit.
After hearing the parties, the Court extended the CBI remand of P Chidambaram till September 2.
Stating that investigation was the prerogative of the Investigating Officer and more time was needed to confront Chidambaram with the voluminous record in the case, Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar ordered,
“In view of the submission made at the Bar and facts and circumstances of the case, remand is extended till September 2.”
Chidambaram was sent to custody last week 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.
The same day, the Special CBI Court at Rouse Avenue Court Complex extended the CBI’s custody of P Chidambaram till August 30. An application was later filed challenging the extension of remand.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court reserved its order in the plea filed by former Union Minister and Senior Advocate P Chidambaram for anticipatory bail in the case registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the INX Media case.