Chidambaram moves HC against judicial custody
Former Union minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday challenged in the Delhi high court an order by a trial court remanding him to 14 days’ judicial custody, and sought regular bail in connection with the INX Media case.
The plea, filed through advocates Arshdeep Singh and Akshat Gupta, said that the order of the trial court was “contrary to the settled law relating to judicial remand of an accused”. It said the “judge has not appreciated that the liberty of an individual is involved”. The former home minister was sent to Tihar jail on September 5 after the Central Bureau of Investigation moved an application saying that he be sent to judicial custody because he could tamper with evidence.
The INX Media case relates to alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to the broadcaster for receiving foreign investment to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007, when Chidambaram was finance minister. CBI registered an FIR on May 15, 2017.
Chidambaram’s plea said that it was a “clear case of political vendetta” wherein a decision taken by members of the FIPB Unit and the FIPB Board (consisting of six secretaries of the government of India) had only been approved by him in his capacity as then finance minister.
It also said that the grounds cited by the CBI in seeking judicial custody of Chidambaram had not been supported by any material and were based on mere apprehensions and presumptions of the Investigating agency without any basis in law and facts. While challenging the trial court order, Chidambaram also applied for regular bail, contending that he had been neither named in the first information report (FIR) nor was he an accused in the case.
“There is no allegation against the petitioner in the body of the subject FIR. Further the allegations in the subject FIR pertain to the grant of an FIPB approval in 2007-2008, for which the subject FIR came to be registered after a period of almost 10 years based on alleged ‘oral source’ information,” the plea said.
The plea also contended that Chidambaram had fully cooperated in the investigation and joined the probe as and when he had been called by the investigating agency. The matters are likely to be heard on Thursday before justice Suresh Kait.