Court Extends CBI Custody of “Corrupt” Congress Leader Chidambaram

P. Chidambaram. Photo: Congress
P. Chidambaram. Photo: Congress

Court Extends CBI Custody of “Corrupt” Congress Leader Chidambaram

The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a plea that challenged the dismissal of Congress leader P. Chidambaram’s anticipatory bail in a corruption case lodged by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the INX Media case.

The apex court observed that Chidambaram’s petition has become infructuous as he has already been arrested by the investigating agency. The Court also said his plea will be listed for hearing after the registry gets necessary orders from Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.

The Special CBI Court at Rouse Avenue Court Complex today extended Chidambaram’s CBI custody until August 30. Appearing for the CBI, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought a 5-day extension of the remand granted earlier by the Special Court.

[ Also Read: Air India Man Sampathkumar Runs Criminal Gang in Delhi ]

Mehta argued that further custody of Chidambaram was required to reveal the larger conspiracy involved in the case. He said that Chidambaram needs to be interrogated on new evidence and documents that the CBI has received from the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Chidambaram’s 5-day custody was supposed to end today (August 26).

Previous Story August 22, 2019

Chidambaram’s Arrest Is Politically Motivated Witch-Hunt: Son Karti

After staying underground for more than 24 hours, Congress leader P. Chidambaram had surfaced Wednesday at his New Delhi residence from where he was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sleuths.

Chidambaram was trying to evade arrest in the corruption and money laundering cases in which he is allegedly involved. Today, he was produced in a special CBI court which sent him to CBI custody for interrogation until August 26 in the INX Media case.

Chidambaram’s lawyer Congress leader Kapil Sibal failed to convince the court about his client and colleague’s innocence while Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued that Chidambaram’s custody is an imperative for he was not cooperating with the investigators and evasive during interrogation.

Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram – who is also an accused in this case – said today that his father’s arrest is a politically motivated witch-hunt.

Earlier, in a statement Congress said that after 5 years of investigation, authorities are unable to come out with any allegation or a compelling case against Chidambaram. The statement added this leads to only one conclusion – false charges are being heaped upon senior political rivals to silence anyone and everyone.

UPDATE: August 21

Corrupt Congress Leader Chidambaram Absconds to Evade Arrest

As the Supreme Court is expected to pronounce its verdict today on the bail application of Congress leader P. Chidambaram who is facing arrest in the corruption and money laundering cases, reports suggest that he has been untraceable after 6.45 pm on Tuesday.

Chidambaram’s lawyers have moved the Supreme Court, seeking interim relief against Tuesday’s order of the Delhi High Court canceling his anticipatory bail plea.

Meanwhile, Twitter followers suggest that Chidambaram is such a criminal that he would have even changed his appearance to dodge the police and law-enforcement agencies. They are sharing Chidambaram’s face in different appearances so that he could be identified and arrested.

Report dated August 20 is given below.

Court Rejects Chidambaram’s Bail Plea. Arrest Expected in Corruption Case

The Supreme Court of India today rejected the anticipatory bail petition of a former India minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram corruption and money laundering cases related to the INX Media scandal.

Chidambaram – who is perceived to be one of the most corrupt politicians in Congress – had moved the court for an urgent hearing hours after the Delhi High Court had dismissed his bail application.

Senior advocates and Chidambaram’s colleagues in the Congress party Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid, and Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued his case in the Supreme Court. As Chidambaram has not yet been arrested, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi‘s bench will decide his fate on Wednesday. There is a likelihood that Chidambaram will be arrested on Wednesday.

Denying protection from arrest to Chidambaram, Justice Sunil Gaur said categorically that Chidambaram’s status as Member of Parliament and member of legal profession won’t affect the decision in the case.

It is alleged that Chidambaram has not been fully cooperating with the investigating agencies in the INX Media case in which his son, Karti Chidambaram, has allegedly received kickbacks in exchange for illegally allowing the TV media company to receive foreign funds amounting to Rs. 305 crore in 2007.

The High Court order stated that prima facie, the “petitioner appears to be the kingpin of the entire scam” and has not cooperated with the investigation. “Magnitude and enormity of material produced dis-entitle him from any pre-arrest bail,” the court order said.

The court order added that economic offence has to be dealt with iron hands. “Investigating agencies’ hand cannot be tied up in such a massive economic offence.”

Justice Sunil Gaur had earlier reserved the decision on Chidambaram’s plea on January 25. During the arguments, both the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had opposed Chidambaram’s plea on the ground that his custodial interrogation was required as he was evasive during questioning.

During the hearing, the ED contended that the companies in which the corruption money was transferred are directly or indirectly controlled by Chidambaram’s son, Karti, and they have a reason to believe that the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval was granted to INX Media on his son’s intervention.

Reports suggest that various anti-corruption agencies were investigating Chidambaram’s role in the Rs. 3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal and the INX Media case. It was during his tenure as finance minister in the Congress government that clearances from the FIPB were given to the two companies.

First, the CBI had registered an FIR in the INX Media case on May 15, 2017 alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance. Later, in 2018, the ED had lodged the money laundering case.

Chidambaram’s petition says while ED has not served any summons on him, he is apprehending by the CBI. The petition also argued that the FIR has not named Chidamabaram as an accused.

It was also contended that at the stage of bail, the court need not look into the merits of the case and it only needed to satisfy itself on three conditions – absence of flight risk, no risk of evidence tampering, and accused being available for further investigation.

Last year, ED had conducted raids at the Delhi and Chennai residences of Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis case.

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