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Home / India News / P Chidambaram sent to judicial custody till November 13

P Chidambaram sent to judicial custody till November 13

The special judge said Chidambaram can be interrogated and be confronted with witnesses even when he is in judicial custody.

india Updated: Oct 31, 2019, 03:27 IST
Richa Banka
Richa Banka
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar observed that “sufficient time has been given for the custodial interrogation” of Chidambaram,  who was arrested on August 21 by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with alleged corruption in the case and transferred to the ED’s custody on October 16
Special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar observed that “sufficient time has been given for the custodial interrogation” of Chidambaram, who was arrested on August 21 by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with alleged corruption in the case and transferred to the ED’s custody on October 16(PTI)

A Delhi court on Wednesday sent former Union minister P Chidambaram to judicial custody for 14 days more, sending him back to Tihar jail in the INX Media case, dismissing a plea by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for one-day custodial interrogation of the senior Congress politician, who separately sought urgent interim bail from the high court on medical grounds.

Special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar observed that “sufficient time has been given for the custodial interrogation” of Chidambaram, who was arrested on August 21 by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with alleged corruption in the case and transferred to the ED’s custody on October 16 as part of its money laundering probe.

The special judge said Chidambaram can be interrogated and be confronted with witnesses even when he is in judicial custody. He also noted that the Investigating officer (IO) of the ED had never approached the court to interrogate the Rajya Sabha member when he was in judicial custody in connection to the offence being probed by the CBI.

“It is not the case where all the documents have come to the knowledge of the ED only after the arrest of the accused…..It may also be noticed that when the accused had moved an application to surrender in this court in the present case, it was opposed by the ED on the ground that they do not want the custody of the accused as they wanted to complete investigation of some aspect of money laundering to make the custodial interrogation of the accused meaningful and effective,” the judge said in the order, a copy of which was reviewed by HT.

The court also noted that Chidambaram, 74, had been in the custody of the ED since October 17 but had not been confronted with any witnesses.

“I think sufficient time has been given for the custodial interrogation of the accused. No doubt the interrogation in the prerogative of the IO but at the same time the provision in section 167 CrPC {Code of Criminal Procedure} for 15 days police/ED custody is not a ritualistic formality which is to be completed in all the cases necessary sans justification,” the court said.

Appearing for the ED, solicitor general (SG) Tushar Mehta told the court that the former Union finance and home minister is yet to be confronted with some documents. He said that the interrogation could not be completed because of the ill health of Chidambaram He also contended that Chidambaram had been evasive during the interrogation.

However, the court said the “right against self incrimination is protected by the law. “I do not see any justified ground to extend the remand of the accused in ED custody. The investigation is still in progress. I am informed that the bail application of the applicant/accused is pending before the Delhi high court.”

“Thus, having considered all the facts and circumstances of the case, the accused is remanded to judicial custody till November 13. Custody warrants to be prepared,” the judge said, adding that the jail authorities shall ensure his safety and provide him home-cooked food and a Western toilet.

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