New Delhi: A special court on Thursday sent former Union finance minister and Congress leader P. Chidambaram to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) custody for four days till 26 August in an alleged corruption case involving INX Media.
“Considering all facts and circumstances, I am of the view that police custody is justified,” special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar said, remanding Chidambaram in CBI custody.
“The allegations made against the accused are serious in nature and there cannot be any dispute with the fact that a detailed and in-depth investigation is required in the present case. The enormity of money allegedly involved in this case and the persons who are accused necessitate an in-depth investigation,” the order said.
The special CBI court also allowed Chidambaram’s lawyers and his family to meet him for half an hour daily. Chidambaram also needs to be medically examined every 48 hours.
The Delhi high court on Tuesday dismissed the anticipatory bail plea filed by Chidambaram in the INX Media case.
“This court cannot permit the prosecution in this sensitive case to end up in smoke like it has happened in some other high-profile cases,” the high court said.
The court had also called it a “classic case of money laundering” and declined to provide interim protection from arrest to the Congress leader.
On Tuesday evening, Chidambaram’s legal team filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court, challenging the Delhi high court order. His lawyers termed the high court ruling “manifestly contrary to law and unjust”. The apex court bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana on Wednesday refused to give any order on senior counsel Kapil Sibal’s plea for an early listing of the petition seeking “interim protection” for Chidambaram.
A Delhi court on Wednesday evening passed a non-bailable arrest warrant against Chidambaram in the INX Media case on a plea made by CBI that he was untraceable. The former Union minister was arrested by the CBI from his residence in New Delhi later in the evening.
The case Chidambaram vs. CBI and Chidambaram vs. Enforcement Directorate are listed on Friday in the Supreme Court.
Both the cases were filed to secure anticipatory bail for Chidambaram. The Congress leader’s legal team is likely to press for anticipatory bail in the ED case as he can still be arrested by the ED when the remand with CBI is completed. For all practical purposes, the anticipatory plea against the CBI case has become infructuous since the arrest has already been made by the CBI.
The case relates to an FIR registered by CBI on 15 May 2017 against alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance provided to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of ₹305 crore in 2007, when Chidambaram was finance minister. In 2018, ED lodged a money laundering case in this regard.
On 25 July 2018, the high court granted interim protection to him from arrest till 1 August. While the interim protection was extended from time to time by the high court, it had also directed Chidambaram to cooperate with the probe agencies. The high court had reserved its order on Chidambaram’s anticipatory bail plea on 25 January this year.
INX Media case: Court sends P. Chidambaram to CBI custody until Monday – Livemint