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Court sends Chidambaram to 4 more days of custody

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, Aug 26 - A special court on Monday sent former Finance Minister P Chidambaram to four more days of CBI custody till August 30 in the INX Media case after the probe agency said �certain evidence� had emerged and that the Congress leader�s confrontation with a co-accused during interrogation was incomplete.

The Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) had sought extension of Chidambaram�s custody by five days to confront him with certain e-mails and to unearth larger conspiracy in the corruption case in the INX Media scam.

Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar said the CBI demand was �justified� for further interrogating the Congress leader in its custody.

Chidambaram, 73, was produced in the special court on the expiry of his four-day CBI custody which was granted to the investigating agency on August 22, a day after he was arrested amid high drama from his Delhi residence.

His counsel Kapil Sibal opposed the CBI plea during the hearing, saying the agency was not disclosing �full facts� of the case to the court. �CBI�s investigation is clouded. This method of seeking remand behind curtains is not fair.�

After speaking to Chidambaram for two minutes, Sibal said in the previous remand application, there was a mention of USD 5 million and not a single document was put to him on this during four days of interrogation.

He said the case cannot be sensationalised, and not a single question with regard to shell companies as also bank accounts has been asked to Chidambaram.

The Supreme Court, meanwhile, extended till Tuesday the protection from arrest given to Chidambaram in the separate money laundering case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

A bench comprising justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna, however, refused to entertain his petition challenging the dismissal of anticipatory bail in a corruption case lodged by the CBI in the INX Media scam, saying since he has been arrested it has become infructuous.

Special Judge Kuhar allowed Chidambaram�s family members and lawyers to meet him for half-an-hour daily during the CBI custody.

�Investigation is the prerogative of the investigating officer which he has to conduct within the framework of law... 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 August 30,� the judge said.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor General KN Nataraj, representing the CBI, said there was sufficient ground for extension of Chidambaram�s custodial interrogation as he was confronted with a co-accused from August 23-26.

The confrontation with the co-accused is not complete, the prosecutors said, and placed before the court a file containing e-mail exchanges between the accused.

�We need five days of custody of Chidambaram as the confrontation with co-accused will continue to unearth larger conspiracy,� Mehta contended without divulging the name of the co-accused.

He said investigation of the ED is going on simultaneously and the CBI has received information from it.

On being asked by the judge as to what the CBI has done in the last four days, the agency placed before the court relevant records. � PTI

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Court sends Chidambaram to 4 more days of custody

NEW DELHI, Aug 26 - A special court on Monday sent former Finance Minister P Chidambaram to four more days of CBI custody till August 30 in the INX Media case after the probe agency said �certain evidence� had emerged and that the Congress leader�s confrontation with a co-accused during interrogation was incomplete.

The Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) had sought extension of Chidambaram�s custody by five days to confront him with certain e-mails and to unearth larger conspiracy in the corruption case in the INX Media scam.

Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar said the CBI demand was �justified� for further interrogating the Congress leader in its custody.

Chidambaram, 73, was produced in the special court on the expiry of his four-day CBI custody which was granted to the investigating agency on August 22, a day after he was arrested amid high drama from his Delhi residence.

His counsel Kapil Sibal opposed the CBI plea during the hearing, saying the agency was not disclosing �full facts� of the case to the court. �CBI�s investigation is clouded. This method of seeking remand behind curtains is not fair.�

After speaking to Chidambaram for two minutes, Sibal said in the previous remand application, there was a mention of USD 5 million and not a single document was put to him on this during four days of interrogation.

He said the case cannot be sensationalised, and not a single question with regard to shell companies as also bank accounts has been asked to Chidambaram.

The Supreme Court, meanwhile, extended till Tuesday the protection from arrest given to Chidambaram in the separate money laundering case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

A bench comprising justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna, however, refused to entertain his petition challenging the dismissal of anticipatory bail in a corruption case lodged by the CBI in the INX Media scam, saying since he has been arrested it has become infructuous.

Special Judge Kuhar allowed Chidambaram�s family members and lawyers to meet him for half-an-hour daily during the CBI custody.

�Investigation is the prerogative of the investigating officer which he has to conduct within the framework of law... 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 August 30,� the judge said.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor General KN Nataraj, representing the CBI, said there was sufficient ground for extension of Chidambaram�s custodial interrogation as he was confronted with a co-accused from August 23-26.

The confrontation with the co-accused is not complete, the prosecutors said, and placed before the court a file containing e-mail exchanges between the accused.

�We need five days of custody of Chidambaram as the confrontation with co-accused will continue to unearth larger conspiracy,� Mehta contended without divulging the name of the co-accused.

He said investigation of the ED is going on simultaneously and the CBI has received information from it.

On being asked by the judge as to what the CBI has done in the last four days, the agency placed before the court relevant records. � PTI