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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

‘What’s the hurry’: Court allows ED to question, arrest Chidambaram if needed

The Delhi court said that the interrogation of the accused in the court is not up to the dignity of a person of this stature.

india Updated: Oct 16, 2019 06:02 IST
Richa Banka
Richa Banka
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram after being produced in the Rouse Avenue Court in connection with the INX Media corruption case, in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram after being produced in the Rouse Avenue Court in connection with the INX Media corruption case, in New Delhi on Tuesday.(Photo: PTI)
         

Former finance minister P Chidambaram may be arrested by the Enforcement Directorate at Tihar jail after one round of questioning, a Delhi court ruled on the request of the agency on Tuesday. Chidambaram, who was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the INX Media case on 21 August, has spent 40 days in national capital Delhi’s central prison, Tihar.

The Enforcement Directorate had asked the court for permission to arrest and interrogate Chidambaram the INX Media case. Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar accepted both, but in the reverse format. Kuhar said the agency would first interrogate him and could arrest Chidambaram only if required after questioning him once.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta promptly offered to put Chidambaram through a 20-minute round of questioning in an adjacent room at the court complex right away.

“What is the hurry,” the judge shot back, firmly ruling out the request.

Kuhar said the agency had to keep the dignity of the accused in mind and his dignity could not be violated.

The ED later told the court that its officials would go to Tihar jail and arrest Chidambaram at Tihar jail tomorrow after explaining, as the court ordered, the reasons for his arrest.

The ED is investigating money laundering charges linked to the INX Media corruption case being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The CBI has alleged irregularities in the grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media co-founded by Peter and Indrani Mukherjea to receive overseas investment to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007, when Chidambaram was finance minister in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.