New Delhi: A special CBI court on Thursday sent former finance minister P. Chidambaram to the investigative agency’s custody until August 26 in connection with the controversial INX Media case.
The senior Congress leader was arrested by the CBI on Wednesday night, a day after the Delhi high court rejected his anticipatory bail petition.
In his order, Special CBI judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar noted that Chidambaram should get regular medical check-ups after every 48 hours and that his family and counsel will be allowed to meet him for 30 minutes each day.
With the CBI now gaining custody, all eyes will be on the Enforcement Directorate’s case against the former finance minister.
In the special CBI court, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued that the case was at the pre-chargesheet stage and that certain questions could only be answered when Chidambaram was not under a “protective umbrella”.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who was Chidambaram’s counsel, argued that the CBI had not made out any allegations of evidence tampering or flight risk against the former finance minister and thus judicial remand was not warranted.
Chidambaram was produced before the special CBI court at Rouse Avenue on Thursday afternoon.
INX Media Case: P. Chidambaram produced in CBI court; hearing begins. https://t.co/0q8HjenRai
— ANI (@ANI) August 22, 2019
On Wednesday night, in a series of high-paced events, the senior Congress leader was taken into custody from his Job Bagh residence hours after addressing a press conference.
Chidambaram was kept at the CBI headquarters overnight and was subjected to partial questioning on Thursday morning.
Their anticipatory bail petition before the Supreme Court, which was not given an urgent hearing, has still not been withdrawn.
Chidambaram’s arrest on Wednesday night happened barely an hour after he held a press conference at the Congress headquarters, where he declared that he was not “running away from justice” and that he had not been accused of any offence in the INX media case.
— ANI (@ANI) August 21, 2019
The senior Congress leader has been in the spotlight since Tuesday, after the Delhi high court denied his anticipatory bail application and the CBI paid a visit to his Jor Bagh residence last night.
According to records, doctors from the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital conducted a medical examination on Chidambaram at the CBI headquarters after his arrest.
On Wednesday, Chidambaram’s legal team moved the Supreme Court for relief, but could not secure an urgent hearing. The apex court had listed the anticipatory bail hearing for August 23 (Friday), but it now appears that with his arrest, the former finance minister will likely to have apply for regular bail before a trial court.
At his press conference, Chidambaram denied any wrong-doing and said that he was not running away from justice.
“There is a widespread impression that grave offences have been committed and that my son and I have committed those offences. Nothing can be further from the truth, these are lies spread by pathological liars,” Chidambaram said in a press conference on Wednesday night, seemingly in response to several media reports that he had gone “missing”.
According to the CBI’s FIR, which was filed in May 2016, INX Media Ltd engaged in several foreign direct investment (FDI) violations during Chidambaram’s time as finance minister.
The agency has alleged that the media company, in order to get out of trouble, then “entered into a criminal conspiracy with Shri Karthi P. Chidambaram, son of P Chidambaram, the-then Finance Minister”.
Karthi was allegedly able to help by “influencing the public servants of the FIPB unit of Ministry of Finance by virtue of his relationship with the Finance Minister”.
Both the Chidambarams have denied the allegations, with the former finance minister saying that the FIR does not impute any wrong-doing on his behalf.
“In the INX Media case, I have not been accused of any offence. Nor has anyone… in my family been accused of any offence. There has been no chargesheet filed by either the CBI or the ED before a competent court. Moreover the FIR recorded by the CBI does not impute to me any wrong-doing,” he added.
The senior Congress leader also noted that on Wednesday he was with his lawyers, “following the proceedings in the SC”.
“I was aghast that I was accused of hiding from the law. On the contrary, I was engaged in the pursuit of justice,” he added.