INX Media case: Chidambaram not to be sent to Tihar jail for now

P Chidambaram, INX Media corruption case, CBI, Delhi High Court, Karti Chidambaram
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram. Photo: Facebook.

A Delhi Court on Monday (September 2) extended the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) custody of former finance minister P Chidambaram by one day in the INX Media corruption case.

Chidambaram got partial relief from the Supreme Court which said that he would not be sent to Tihar jail as of now in the INX Media corruption case after the former finance minister offered that he be placed under house arrest instead of being sent to prison.

Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar will also hear the interim bail plea of Chidambaram at 3:50 PM on Tuesday (September 3), who was produced before the court on the expiry of his 3-day CBI custody granted on August 30. The CBI opposed any relief to Chidambaram in the case and sought an extension of his custodial interrogation by a day.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal moved the interim bail application of the former minister and senior Congress leader, who was arrested on the night of August 21. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought time to reply to Chidambaram’s interim bail plea and said that the notice be issued to the CBI as it is required statutorily.

“All citizens have to be treated equally,” Mehta said, adding that personal liberty of every citizen is equal. After the judge was informed about Monday’s Supreme Court hearing, he asked if there was any direction by the apex court to seek the relief and to decide on it today itself.

Also read: Chidambaram’s CBI custody extended till Sept 2 in INX Media case

During the hearing, Mehta asked what was so special and extraordinary in this case. Responding to his submission, senior advocate AM Singhvi, also appearing for Chidambaram, said that the Solicitor General would not have been here if it would have been a normal case.

Mehta said that it would be a serious travesty of justice if the CBI is not given time to reply to the bail plea and demanded 10 days time. Sibal said that he wants to argue for bail.

While submissions were being made by both the sides, the judge said, “I do not know what order has been passed by the Supreme Court.” Singhvi said that according to them, the apex court has asked to decide the interim bail plea today itself or extend the police custody till September 5.

The special court on August 30 had extended Chidambaram’s CBI custody till today. Chidambaram, 73, has been already subjected to custodial interrogation by the CBI for 11 days since his arrest on August 21, after the Delhi High Court on August 20 dismissed his anticipatory bail plea.

Also read: P Chidambaram’s arrest in INX Media case is good news, says Indrani

His son Karti was 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 a First Information Report (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 ₹305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as the finance minister.

The Enforcement Directorate lodged a money-laundering case in this regard in 2017.