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news details
Court sends P Chidambaram to five-day CBI custody
8/22/2019 7:03:54 PM

New Delhi August 22

Former Union minister P Chidambaram's ordeal has been prolonged as a special court on Thursday sent him to a five-day CBI custody in connection with INX Media money laundering case. He will remain in the CBI custody till August 26.

P Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI after a high-octane drama on Wednesday night. He spent the night at the CBI headquarters.

In the morning the probe agency produced him at the special court seeking the five-day custody. The CBI argued that the Union minister had been evasive in his answers and not cooperating in the investigation.

The CBI told the court that P Chidambaram's custodial interrogation was necessary to unearth larger conspiracy in the INX Media case.

However, the ex-minister's counsel Kapil Sibal argued that the CBI cannot expect P Chidambaram to confess.

"CBI cannot say Chidambaram was evasive during the investigation. Not confessing is not non-cooperation. He doesn't need to say yes to everything," Sibal told the court.

Kapil Sibal also argued that every other person named in the case was granted bail by the court. Karti Chidambaram and his chartered accountant Bhaskar Raman as well as Indrani and Peter Mukerjea, the owners of the INX Media, were also granted bail, he told the court.

Indrani and Peter Mukerjea are currently in jail in connection with Sheena Bora murder case.

The senior advocate contended that grant of bail was a rule and the issue before the court was of personal liberty.

P Chidambaram's counsel also contended that the CBI was not prepared to question the former Union minister.
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He said that Chidambaram was asked 12 questions and he had already answered six of them previously.

Investigators don't know what to ask and they don't have questions ready with them, Sibal told the court, adding that after his arrest on Wednesday night, Chidambaram was interrogated only on Thursday morning at 11 am.

During the arguments, Chidambaram said he has not slept for the last 24 hours.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who is part of P Chidambaram's legal team, said that the disputed FIPB clearance to INX Media was given by six bureaucrats, Chidambaram, as the then finance minister, was just the approver.

"None of the six are arrested or are culpable of the arrest. Whether they are not in public life or are blue-eyed boys-- they are not arrested. But the person who has only approved is arrested," Singhvi told the court.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, placed the Delhi High Court's judgment dismissing Chidambaram's anticipatory bail plea and also referred to the observations made in it.

He said chargesheet has not been filed in the case yet and the case is at pre-charge sheet stage, therefore, "we need material which Chidambaram is holding".

"Effective investigation is possible only in custodial interrogation," he argued.

The hearing took place in a packed courtroom. Several keen observers also crowded the corridor outside as they tried to watch the proceedings through the windows that look into the courtroom.

Chidambaram's family members, including his wife Nalini and son Karti, are also in the courtroom along with other senior advocates including Dayan Krishnan.

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.

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