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Chidambaram sent to 4-day CBI custody

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, Aug 22 - Congress leader P Chidambaram was on Thursday sent to four-day CBI custody by a Delhi court which said his custodial interrogation was justified in the INX Media corruption case.

The court said Chidambaram will be in the CBI custody till August 26, during which the agency will get him medically examined regularly as per the rules, and allowed his family members and lawyers to meet him for half an hour every day.

�Considering the facts and circumstances, I am of the view that police custody is justified,� Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar said and remanded him to the CBI custody till August 26.

After the pronouncement of the order, 73-year-old Chidambaram was immediately taken out of the court room by the CBI team.

The court heard the arguments of the CBI and his counsel for over one and a half hours during which the agency said there was a need to unearth a larger conspiracy and to go to the root of the case.

Chidamabaram�s counsel opposed the CBI plea saying that all the other accused, including his son Karti, have already been granted bail in the case.

Chidambaram, who was Union Home Minister as also Finance Minister during the UPA rule from 2004 to 2014, was arrested Wednesday night after he failed to get protection from the Supreme Court, which did not list for an urgent hearing his appeal against the Delhi High Court verdict dismissing his anticipatory bail plea on Tuesday.

The CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram�s tenure as the finance minister.

Thereafter, the ED lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2018.

Chidambaram was produced in the court amidst tight security and senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for him, argued that the first arrest in the case was of Bhaskar Raman, chartered accountant of Karti, who is presently out on bail.

Besides that, Peter and Indrani Mukherjea, also accused in the case, are out on default bail as they are in jail in connection with another matter, Sibal said.

He said the FIPB approval was given by senior officials, who were not arrested.

He also contended that grant of bail was a rule and the issue before the court was of personal liberty.

However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said CBI has to interrogate Chidambaram in custody as he was non-cooperative and evasive in replies.

He told the court that the agency was not extorting confession from Chidambaram but it had the right to reach the root of the case.

�It is a serious case involving intelligent people and we will fail in our duty if we don�t get to the root of the case,� the solicitor general said, adding that even Karti underwent custodial interrogation in the case.

Mehta said Chidambaram has tremendous potential of not cooperating in probe since he is highly intelligent and certain facts about the case cannot be narrated in the open court.

Besides Sibal, senior advocate Abhishek M Singhvi, also appeared for Chidambaram, opposed CBI�s plea saying that the former Union Minister was not a flight risk.

Singhvi said the entire CBI case was based on the statement of Indrani Mukherjea, who has turned approver in the case. � PTI

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Chidambaram sent to 4-day CBI custody

NEW DELHI, Aug 22 - Congress leader P Chidambaram was on Thursday sent to four-day CBI custody by a Delhi court which said his custodial interrogation was justified in the INX Media corruption case.

The court said Chidambaram will be in the CBI custody till August 26, during which the agency will get him medically examined regularly as per the rules, and allowed his family members and lawyers to meet him for half an hour every day.

�Considering the facts and circumstances, I am of the view that police custody is justified,� Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar said and remanded him to the CBI custody till August 26.

After the pronouncement of the order, 73-year-old Chidambaram was immediately taken out of the court room by the CBI team.

The court heard the arguments of the CBI and his counsel for over one and a half hours during which the agency said there was a need to unearth a larger conspiracy and to go to the root of the case.

Chidamabaram�s counsel opposed the CBI plea saying that all the other accused, including his son Karti, have already been granted bail in the case.

Chidambaram, who was Union Home Minister as also Finance Minister during the UPA rule from 2004 to 2014, was arrested Wednesday night after he failed to get protection from the Supreme Court, which did not list for an urgent hearing his appeal against the Delhi High Court verdict dismissing his anticipatory bail plea on Tuesday.

The CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram�s tenure as the finance minister.

Thereafter, the ED lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2018.

Chidambaram was produced in the court amidst tight security and senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for him, argued that the first arrest in the case was of Bhaskar Raman, chartered accountant of Karti, who is presently out on bail.

Besides that, Peter and Indrani Mukherjea, also accused in the case, are out on default bail as they are in jail in connection with another matter, Sibal said.

He said the FIPB approval was given by senior officials, who were not arrested.

He also contended that grant of bail was a rule and the issue before the court was of personal liberty.

However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said CBI has to interrogate Chidambaram in custody as he was non-cooperative and evasive in replies.

He told the court that the agency was not extorting confession from Chidambaram but it had the right to reach the root of the case.

�It is a serious case involving intelligent people and we will fail in our duty if we don�t get to the root of the case,� the solicitor general said, adding that even Karti underwent custodial interrogation in the case.

Mehta said Chidambaram has tremendous potential of not cooperating in probe since he is highly intelligent and certain facts about the case cannot be narrated in the open court.

Besides Sibal, senior advocate Abhishek M Singhvi, also appeared for Chidambaram, opposed CBI�s plea saying that the former Union Minister was not a flight risk.

Singhvi said the entire CBI case was based on the statement of Indrani Mukherjea, who has turned approver in the case. � PTI