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Chidambaram Won't Be Sent to Tihar for Now as Delhi Court Extends CBI Custody Till Tomorrow

Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar will also hear at 3:50 PM on Tuesday the interim bail plea of Chidambaram, who was produced before the court on the expiry of his 3-day CBI custody granted on August 30.


Updated:September 2, 2019, 7:48 PM IST
Chidambaram Won't Be Sent to Tihar for Now as Delhi Court Extends CBI Custody Till Tomorrow
News18 Creative by Mir Suhail

New Delhi: A Delhi Court Monday extended the CBI custody of former finance minister P Chidambaram by one day in the INX Media corruption case.

Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar will also hear at 3:50 PM on Tuesday the interim bail plea of Chidambaram, who was produced before the court on the expiry of his 3-day CBI custody granted on August 30.

The CBI opposed any relief to Chidambaram in the case and sought extension of his custodial interrogation by a day. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal moved the interim bail application of the former minister and senior Congress leader, who was arrested on the night of August 21.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought time to reply to Chidambaram's interim bail plea and said that notice be issued to the CBI as it is required statutorily. "All citizens have to be treated equally," Mehta said, adding that personal liberty of every citizen is equal.

After the judge was informed about Monday's Supreme Court hearing, he asked if there was any direction by the apex court to seek the relief and to decide on it today itself.

During the hearing, Mehta asked what was so special and extraordinary in this case. Responding to his submission, senior advocate A M Singhvi, also appearing for Chidambaram, said the Solicitor General would not have been here if it would have been a normal case.

Mehta said it would be a serious travesty of justice if the CBI is not given time to reply to the bail plea and demanded 10 days time. Sibal said he wants to argue for bail.

While submissions were being made by both the sides, the judge said, "I do not know what order has been passed by the Supreme Court."

Singhvi said that according to them, the apex court has asked to decide the interim bail plea today itself or extend the police custody till September 5. The special court on August 30 had extended Chidambaram's CBI custody till today.

Chidambaram, 73, has been already subjected to custodial interrogation by the CBI for 11 days since his arrest on August 21, after the Delhi High Court on August 20 dismissed his anticipatory bail plea. His son Karti was also present in the court.

Chidambaram, who was Union home minister as also finance minister during the UPA rule from 2004 to 2014, was arrested by the CBI on August 21 from his Jor Bagh residence. He was earlier produced before the court on August 22 and was remanded to four-day CBI custody.

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 Enforcement Directorate lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2017.

Earlier on Monday, the Supreme Court said the former finance minister will not be sent to Tihar Jail for now after the Congress leader asked the apex court to either put him under house arrest or give him interim bail in the INX Media Case. Arguing for Chidambaram, whose CBI custody in the case ends on Monday, Kapil Sibal said: "Give me interim protection. I won't run away. If I am sent to Tihar Jail, this petition will become infructuous. The man is 74-year-old and this is the way they treat him.”

While the CBI succeeded in securing three more days of custodial interrogation of senior Congress leader in the INX Media corruption case, a Delhi court had on Friday taken strong objection to its seeking police custody in part manner and even said the ground for it was "vague".

As per the law, the maximum period of police custody in corruption cases like the one in which Chidambaram is booked is 15 days.

Chidambaram told court earlier that the probe agency didn't produce any documents related to the money trail. "They have been continuously showing me three files. Even today the same files were repeatedly shown to me for more than 2.5 hours," Chidambaram told Special CBI Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar on Friday.

The court extended his custody till Monday after his counsel informed the court about an agreement between the accused and the CBI before the SC, by which Chidambaram's counsel had agreed for the extension of his custody till September 2.

Chidambaram was first produced before the court on August 22 and the CBI had sought his five-day custody. The court had granted four day custodial interrogation.

The CBI had, in 2017, registered a case alleging financial irregularities, to the tune of Rs 305 crore, in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to INX Media in 2007 when Chidambaram was Union Finance Minister.

Following the FIR filed by the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate had filed a case of money laundering against him.

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