INX media case: Chidambaram sent to 4 days CBI custody
On Thursday special CBI court granted the probe agency four days of custody of former Union Minister P. Chidambaram for questioning in the INX Media case.
Ajay Kumar Kuhar, the special judge announced the order after reserving it for some time following the custodial hearing. The court also decided that Chidambaram’s family members and his counsel would be at liberty to meet him at a time practical to both sides.
Appearing for the CBI, Tushar Mehta, the Solicitor General sought custody of the senior Congress leader as he was brought to Rouse Avenue court where he had taken after his arrest on Wednesday night under heavy security from the CBI headquarters .
The prosecution said the investigation has revealed that Indrani Mukherjea, the co-accused made a payment of $5 million US . But interestingly, Chidambaram denied being asked this question by CBI.
The prosecution argued that when he was shown the said document, Chidambaram remained silent and vague, and was stressed on the need to confront him further with more documents.
Citing the Delhi High Court order that denied Chidambaram anticipatory bail and called him “kingpin”, Tushar Mehta also gave the case diary to the court for examining to make a strong case for getting Chidambaram’s custody. He even cited several Supreme Court judgments during the course of his argument.
Kapil Sibal, the Senior Congress leader and lawyer, appearing for Chidambaram, said that the accused in the current case is Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram who has been granted regular bail by the Delhi High Court. He insisted that the investigation is complete as a draft charge sheet has been framed.
Sibal, when asked question on Chidambaram’s “evasiveness”, told the court that the former Finance Minister insisted on sleeping last night rather than being interrogated and was open to it since 8 a.m. on Thursday. Sibal also complained to the court that it was the CBI which started the questioning at 11 a.m. and asked only Chidambaram 12 questions.
He also argued that the Foreign Investment Promotion Board consists of six Central goverment Secretaries, who recommended the file to then Finance Minister. He also raised a question mark on the credibility of the documents produced by CBI. Opposing CBI’s custody demand, Sibal, citing the judgment, argues that bail is the norm, not an exception.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi, the Senior Congress leader and counsel, argued Chidambaram was just an “approver” while the decision was taken by the six members of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). He also raised questions on the delay over asking for Chidambaram after Indrani Mukherjea’s statement.
The former Finance Minister is now accused for granting FIPB clearance for foreign direct investment (FDI) to INX Media when he was the Finance Minister during the UPA government, in exchange for alleged bribes paid to his son Karti Chidambaram.
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