Court Extends P Chidambaram's Judicial Custody Till October 17, Allows Home-cooked Food in Jail
In his bail plea filed before the Supreme Court, the 74-year-old leader argued that his health is deteriorating and he has lost four kilograms as he is not accustomed to the food provided inside the jail.
News18 Creative by Mir Suhail.
New Delhi: The judicial custody of former finance minister P Chidambaram, who is in jail since September 5 in connection with the INX Media case, was extended by two weeks to October 17.
The former minister on Thursday had moved the Supreme Court seeking bail. The matter was brought before the top court just a few days after the Delhi High Court denied him bail on grounds that he might influence witnesses.
The court also allowed Chidamabaram to have home-cooked food inside jail once a day. In his bail plea filed before the Supreme Court, the 74-year-old leader argued that his health is deteriorating and he has lost four kilograms as he is not accustomed to the food provided inside the jail.
Currently in judicial custody in Tihar Jail, Chidambaram's plea said, "His health is frail. He has been kept in a cell and given food that he is not accustomed to. He has already lost 4 kg weight in the period of judicial custody."
"Chidambaram has been incarcerated for 42 days including the maximum permissible period of 15 days of CBI custody remand, and therefore, his continuing incarceration is in the form of punishment as his custody can neither be taken nor is required for the purpose of investigation," the bail plea said.
Chidambaram's counsel and senior advocate Kapil Sibal moved the plea before a bench headed by Justice NV Ramana, who said the listing of the plea would be decided by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and forwarded it to him for consideration.
Seeking bail, Chidambaram challenged the Delhi High Court order and said the judge had incorrectly held that the instant case was an economic offence. The former minister stated, "The instant case is in fact not an economic offence in so far as the Respondent (CBI) is concerned in as much as there is no loss to the public exchequer in this case. No public funds were involved in this case and it also is not a case of bank fraud or taking money out of the country or defrauding depositors or stealing money from a company. On the contrary, Rs 305 crore has come into INX Media (i.e. the investee company) as FDI, well within the approval percentage of 46.216 per cent of equity."
Chidambaram also said that the Delhi High Court has declined bail despite categorically holding that he is not a flight risk and would be available for facing trial. His counsel told the court that Chidambaram is a law abiding citizen, a Rajya Sabha Member, has a reputation to sustain in the society, and there is no possibility that he will flee from justice.
Chidambaram was arrested on August 21 after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during his tenure as the finance minister.
Thereafter, the ED lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2017. The CBI has opposed his bail petition as it described the alleged crime as the "gravest case of economic offences".
The Congress, however, termed the former Union minister’s arrest a “political witch-hunt”, with several party leaders — interim chief Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and senior colleagues like Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel — paying him a visit in jail.
(With inputs from agencies)
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