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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Chidambaram Arrest in INX Media Case: CBI gives 5 reasons for former FM’s custody

Chidambaram Arrest in INX Media Case: CBI’s arguments for custodial interrogation of highlighted Chidambaram’s alleged non-cooperation and silence during questioning in the past.

india Updated: Aug 22, 2019 18:05 IST
Richa Banka and Namita Singh
Richa Banka and Namita Singh
Hindustan Times, Delhi
Former finance minister P Chidambaram flanked by CBI officials, on the way to the CBI court
Former finance minister P Chidambaram flanked by CBI officials, on the way to the CBI court(HT Photo)
         

CBI sought five-day remand to interrogate former finance minister P Chidambaram in the case of alleged irregularities in INX media foreign funding approvals. The agency alleged non-cooperation by Chidambaram among reasons for seeking his remand.

Live | Why custody, Chidambaram never skipped interrogation: Sibal to court

Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta who began argument for CBI in Court said that while right to silence was a constitutional right, “he (Chidambaram) was non cooperative and evasive” to questioning.

Listing other reasons for seeking five-day custody, Mehta added, “this is a classic case of money laundering.”

He went on to argue that since the case was at pre-chargesheet stage, investigating agency needed “material” that was with the former finance minister. He also added that the right to interrogate was CBI’s duty to the nation under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC ) and the agency was merely seeking court’s permission to interrogate the accused further.

Governemnt’s second most senior law officer also defended P Chidambaram’s arrest and said it was done on the basis of a non bailable warrant.

Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi were representing the former finance minister at the CBI court presided by Judge Anil Kumar Kuhad.

Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, arguing for his party colleague, cited Karti Chidambaram’s bail while opposing the CBI plea. Karti Chidambaram, who is the main accused in the case, was given regular bail, Sibal said.

Chidambaram’s lawyers had opposed his arrest in the past by stating that he was not a flight risk and had been cooperating in the probe.

P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram and his wife Nalini were present in the CBI court during arguments.

P Chidambaram was questioned this morning before he was produced in the Delhi court.

ALSO READ: INX media case- ‘Most ambiguous, many not clear’: 20 questions CBI posed to P Chidambaram

He was arrested last evening from his residence by the CBI officials, 90 minutes after he appealed to the investigating agencies to wait till Friday, when his anticipatory bail petition was to be heard by the Supreme Court, in a statement made at Congress Headquarters. He also professed his innocence and commitment to abide by the law.

Former finance minister’s arrest was carried out in the INX Media case that relates to alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to the media group for receiving foreign investment to the tune of R305 crore in 2007, when he was finance minister.

The CBI registered a first information report on May 15, 2017 alleging irregularities in the manner the clearance had been awarded and the ED filed a money laundering case a year later

INX Media co-founders Peter Mukerjea and his wife Indrani Mukerjea have been charged with entering into a criminal conspiracy with Karti Chidambaram to get foreign investment approvals and evade punitive measures for not having the necessary approvals from FIPB.

ALSO READ: How Indrani Mukherjea’s statement to CBI led to Chidambaram’s arrest

Chidambaram has received full support from his party Congress that accused the government of using the two federal agencies – Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate – as “personal revenge seeking departments”.

Several opposition leaders including DMK chief MK Stalin, CPM’s Brinda Karat, TMC’s Mamata Banerjee have classified Chidambaram’s arrest as “political vendetta”. Mamata, however, chose to restrict her criticism to “the process” and not to the merits of the arrest.

First Published: Aug 22, 2019 16:38 IST