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The Special CBI Court at Rouse Avenue Court Complex today extended the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) over former Union Minister P Chidambaram till August 30.
Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar stated in his order,
“The reason for grant of police custody remand have been given in the order dated 22.08.2019 so without going into the facts of the case again and considering the submissions made by the learned Solicitor General and the facts and circumstances of the case, I am of the view that further police custody remand of accused P Chidambaram is justified and accordingly the accused is remanded to further police custody till 30.08.2019.”
Appearing for the CBI, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta today sought a five-day extension of the remand granted earlier by the Special Court.
Mehta argued that further custody of P Chidambaram was required to reveal the larger conspiracy involved in the case. He said that the CBI has received certain evidence and documents from the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which now need to be put to Chidambaram.
Appearing for P Chidambaram, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal opposed the plea for remand extension, arguing that no documents have been shown so far to prove certain allegations made, including the allegation that $5 million was paid to Chidambaram. Sibal contended that an attempt was made to sensationalise the issue. He also submitted that questions put to Chidambaram had already been answered through emails. Sibal countered Mehta, arguing,
“The process of investigation should seem to be fair. If there are documents, show it to court…You do not have to show it to me…”
Mehta responded by stating that the CBI is trying to piece together information sought from foreign jurisdictions. He said,
“I can show we have sent LRs (letters rogatory) in 5 countries. It is not within our jurisdiction. We are trying to connect those links.“
To this, Sibal retorted,
“You cannot keep P Chidambaram in custody till you get an answer to the LRs.”
This prompted Mehta to submit,
“We sent the LRs long back. I’m not saying that I am seeking remand awaiting the LR.”
A day after the Delhi High Court rejected his long pending plea for anticipatory bail in the INX Media case, the CBI arrested Chidambaram on August 21. He was arrested after the Supreme Court declined to take up his August 20 plea challenging the Delhi High Court order on urgent basis. However, the Supreme Court later granted him interim protection from arrest in the cases filed by the Enforcement Directorate in same case.
Following his arrest, Chidambaram approached the Special CBI Court at Rouse Avenue Court Complex in Delhi to get bail. However, Special Court judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar remanded Chidambaram to CBI custody for a five day period, which was due to end today. The judge had passed the order remanding Chidambaram to custody upon finding that the charges involved in the case were serious and required an in dept investigation.
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.