The top court asked P Chidambaram to approach the concerned court for interim protection. (File Photo)
The Supreme Court on Monday extended the CBI custody of former Union Minister P Chidambaram till Thursday. The top court asked the senior Congress leader to approach the concerned court for interim protection. In major relief for the former minister, the apex court said that he not to be sent to Tihar jail, and if the trial court rejects his bail plea, his CBI custody will be extended till September 5. The top court was hearing the petition filed by P Chidambaram challenging the order of the CBI judge remanding him to police custody.
Appearing on behalf of Chidambaram, senior lawyer Kapil Sibal prayed for interim protection to be granted to Chidambaram, saying the ex-minister should be put under house arrest if needed but why should he be sent to Tihar. “The remand order is under challenge..if the matter is not heard, today he'll be sent to Tihar and tomorrow CBI will say the matter has become infructuous,” Sibal said during the hearing.
Last week, a submission by P Chidambaram and its endorsement by the CBI that they were in "mutual agreement" on keeping him in police custody till September 2 left a Delhi Court fuming during the hearing on the Congress leader's custodial interrogation in the INX Media corruption case on Friday. "Then you both discuss and decide how much custody is required. What is the use of this court," the judge said. The remarks came after senior advocate Dayan Krishnan, appearing for Chidambaram, told the court that the accused as well as the prosecution had agreed in the Supreme Court on the extension of the period of his custodial interrogation till September 2, when the apex court would again hear the INX Media matter.
Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, who has been fighting a legal battle to secure his bail in the INX Media case, made an unusual offer. During the hearing in special court on Thursday, Chidambaram offered to remain in the CBI custody till September 2. Appearing on behalf of ex-Union Minister, senior advocate Kapil Sibal said, "I am offering myself to remain in CBI's custody till September 2. Enforcement Directorate should not have any problems with the offer. My CBI remand is coming to an end tomorrow in the CBI's case".
Chidambaram was arrested on August 21 after high-voltage drama captured by news media. The former Finance Minister is accused of okaying FIPB clearance for INX Media in lieu of alleged kickbacks, which were directed to shell companies owned by his son Karti Chidambaram.
The CBI had registered an 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 Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram's tenure as the finance minister. Thereafter, the ED lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2018.