INX Media case: P Chidambaram to remain in CBI custody till September 5

PTI New Delhi | Updated on September 03, 2019 Published on September 03, 2019

P Chidambaram

Former finance minister P Chidambaram was remanded to two more days of CBI custody by a Delhi court in the INX Media corruption case. He will remain in the custody till September 5, as the Supreme Court ordered earlier in the day.

Chidambaram, 73, was produced before Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar on expiry of his one day CBI custody.

The judge was informed by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Chidambaram’s counsel that the apex court has passed an order today that he will be in CBI custody till September 5.

The judge took note of the Supreme Court order and ordered Chidambaram’s CBI custody till Thursday. "The order passed by the Supreme Court today has been downloaded by the staff from the official website (Supreme Court). The Solicitor General has told the court about the order. In view of the above, I deem it appropriate that CBI custody (of Chidambaram) shall remain till September 5. The accused to remain in CBI custody and be produced on September 5,” the judge said.

Chidambaram’s counsel said that they are not pressing for interim bail now and it has been renotified for Thursday.

Just an hour after the apex court ordered that Chidambaram will be in the CBI custody till Thursday, he was produced before the trial court.

Chidambaram has been already subjected to custodial interrogation by the CBI for 12 days since his arrest on August 21, after the Delhi High Court on August 20 dismissed his anticipatory bail plea. His wife Nalini and son Karti were 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.

Supreme Court's stand

Earlier, the apex court said that the CBI custody of Chidambaram would continue till September 5 in the INX Media corruption case. The apex court asked Chidambaram’s counsel not to press for the interim bail plea, filed before the trial court on Monday and scheduled to be heard today, till September 5.

A bench of justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna said that it would hear Chidambaram’s plea on Thursday. In the plea, he had challenged the non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued against him as well as the subsequent trial court’s orders remanding him in the CBI custody.

While posting the matter for hearing on Thursday, the bench said: “We are conscious that we should not usurp the jurisdiction of the concerned trial court.” At the outset, Mehta moved an application seeking recall of the apex court’s Monday order. He said that based on the order, Chidambaram’s counsel had moved interim bail plea before the trial court.

He said Chidambaram’s counsel pressed before the trial court that the interim bail plea should be decided on Monday itself, and the trial judge issued notice to the CBI asking it to file response within 24 hours. After hearing Mehta’s submissions, the bench said the interim bail plea be listed for hearing before the trial court on September 5 and the apex court will hear Chidambaram’s plea on that day itself.

“The present status will continue till then. CBI’s custody will be extended till day after tomorrow (September 5),” the bench said. Mehta then told the bench: “If we don’t take his custody then the law must take its course. We don’t need his custody.”

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi opposed Mehta’s submissions and said that if Chidambaram is sent to jail under judicial custody, then his plea pending before the apex court would become infructuous.

Sibal told the bench that they would not press for the interim bail plea before the trial court today and Chidambaram’s CBI custody should be extended till September 5. The bench, while posting Chidambaram’s plea for hearing on September 5, said that it would decide the matter on Thursday itself.

The apex court is also scheduled to pronounce its order on September 5 on Chidambaram’s separate plea in which he has challenged the August 20 verdict of the Delhi High Court denying him anticipatory bail in the INX Media money laundering case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate.

Published on September 03, 2019
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