A Delhi Court on Thursday accepted a CBI plea seeking custodial interrogation of Congress leader P Chidambaram, who was arrested in the INX Media corruption case.
Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar heard the arguments of CBI and Chidambaram's counsel for over one-and-a half-hour before sending Chidambaram to CBI remand till August 26. The court said family members and lawyers are permitted to meet him for 30 minutes a day.
The former union minister was arrested by the CBI from his residence in New Delhi late on Wednesday.
Chidambaram was produced before a CBI court at Rouse Avenue Court complex on Thursday afternoon. His wife Nalini and son Karti along with senior lawyers representing the former Union minister were present in the court complex on Thursday ahead of the hearing.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who argued for the CBI had moved an application seeking 5-day custody of Chidambaram. Mehta argued that custodial interrogation of the Congress leader was required as the former Finance Minister was "evasive" and "non-cooperative" in the investigation. Mehta said that the case, which is a classic example of money laundering, is in the pre-charge sheet stage.
Congress party leaders and senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek M Singhvi argued on the behalf of the former union minister.
The CBI had arrested Chidambaram Wednesday night after high-drama with the agency officials scaling the walls to gain entry in his posh residence in tony neighbourhood of the Jor Bagh area. The arrest came after the Delhi High Court removed protection from his arrest and rejected his anticipatory bail plea.
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.
Here is how and what happened on Thursday in the high-profile case:
6:50 pm: Former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram taken from the court complex after being sent him to CBI custody till August 26.
6:45 pm: Supreme Court has sent Congress leader P Chidambaram's plea challenging the Delhi High Court verdict dismissing his anticipatory bail plea in INX Media case for hearing before a bench headed by Justice R Banumathi. His plea would come up for hearing before a bench comprising Justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna.
6:38 pm: Special CBI Court sends P Chidambaram to CBI custody till August 26. Court says the former Union minister's family members and lawyers are permitted to meet the for 30 minutes a day.
6:10 pm: Supreme Court to hear P Chidambaram's petition against the Enforcement Directorate on August 27, whereas his petition against the CBI would be heard tomorrow.
5:00 pm: Court reserves its order on an application of CBI seeking five day remand of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in INX media case. The CBI court is expected to give its decision after half an hour.
4:58 pm: P Chidambaram gets one minute to speak in Court. He says, "Please look at the questions and answers, there are no questions which I have not answered, please read the transcript.They asked, if I have bank account abroad, I said no, they asked if my son has an account abroad I said yes."
4:55 pm: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta arguing for CBI says right to interrogate is my duty, duty to the nation under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC ). We are merely seeking court’s permission to interrogate the accused further.
4:45 pm: When P Chidambaram said in court he wants to speak, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta objected and said he is being represented here by two senior advocates.
4:35 pm: Abhishek Manu Singhvi arguing for P Chidambaram: "CBI’s entire case is based on Indrani Mukherjea's evidence and a case diary. They called P Chidambaram once, and he went. Where is the non-cooperation?"
4:25 pm: Arrest is exception. This case is completely based on a case diary and a statement of another accused, says Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
4:20 pm: "Investigators don't know what to ask and they don't have questions ready with them," Kapil Sibal tells CBI court. He adds, the former union minister was summoned only one day in the case and that he appeared. Then how can he be accused of non-cooperation.
4:16 pm: Chidambaram tells court, 'I have not slept for 24 hours'
4:12 pm: Kapil Sibal tells CBI court, last night CBI said that they wanted to interrogate Chidambaram, they didn't start the interrogation till 12 noon and asked him only 12 questions. By now they should know what questions to ask. The questions had nothing to do with Chidambaram.
4:05 pm: Kapil Sibal arguing for P Chidambaram says, that the former Union minister has never skipped interrogation. He adds, the accused in this case is Karti Chidambaram who was granted regular bail by the Delhi High Court in March 2018. The other accused have also got bail. Peter and Indrani Mukerjea are also on default bail in the case.
3:55 pm: SG Tushar Mehta appearing for CBI tells court, money trail in the scam made out and has to be probed.
3:50 pm: Mehta says, Chidambaram to be confronted with documents relating to the INX Media scam. He adds charge sheet yet to be filed in the case and CBI needs material which Chidambaram is holding.
3:50 pm: CBI says Chidambaram's custodial interrogation necessary to unearth larger conspiracy in the INX Media case.
3:48 pm: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta arguing for CBI in Court says this is a classic case of money laundering. "We are at the pre chargesheet stage, material with him, he remained non cooperative," he says.
3:45 pm: Mehta also said that while right to silence is a constitutional right but Chidambaram is non cooperative and was evasive to questioning.
3:40 pm: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta arguing for CBI in Court says have moved an application seeking 5 day custody of P Chidambaram.
3:25 pm: P Chidambaram produced before Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar, hearing begins.
3:23 pm: Chidambaram was seen having discussions with his party leaders and senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Vivek Tankha.
3:21 pm: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who will represent CBI in the case, is also present in the court.
3:18 pm: P Chidambaram brought to CBI court for hearing in INX Media Case. He will be produced in court shortly.
3:10 pm: Chidambaram's lawyers Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi have also arrived at CBI Court his bail hearing. Karti Chidambaram and Nalini Chidambaram are also present.
3:05 pm: Chidambaram is being taken from CBI Office to court for hearing.
Delhi: P. Chidambaram being taken from CBI Office to court for hearing in #INXMediaCase, reports ANI. #PChidambaram— News Nation (@NewsNationTV) August 22, 2019
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2:33 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reacts to Chidambaram's arrest. "Sometimes the process incorrect, I'm not talking about legality, but Chidambaram is a senior politician, he is a former finance minister & home minister. The way his matter has been handled, that is very depressing, that's very bad and sad as well," Banerjee was quoted as saying.
1:43 pm: The three hour questioning by the CBI is over. Former Finance Minister was grilled for his alleged links with INX Media deal.
11:50 pm: Union Minister of State for Home, G Kishan Reddy said that the law will take its own course in the matter. He told ANI, "Law will take its own course, the court takes decisions as per law. The party and the government have no role in it. It's the court, not the government that decides where to put the people who indulge in corruption."
11:05 am: P Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram has joined the other opposition leaders at Jantar Mantar. He said, "The protest in Jantar Mantar is about Article 370. Our whole party, alliance parties, the leader of DMK raised this issue of P Chidambaram's arrest as well."
Karti also denied the allegation levelled by Indrani Mukerjea," I've never met Peter Mukerjea, I've never met Indrani Mukerjea in my life. The only time I've seen Indrani was when CBI took me to confront her. I have had no interaction with anyone directly or indirectly connected with their company."
10:39 am: Over the last two days, India witnessed the broad daylight murder of democracy, Surjewala said. “A seasoned man with 40 years of dedicated public life is jailed on the basis of a comment by a woman who is convicted for murdering her own daughter,” he further added.
10:37 am: Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also raised charges against Indrani Mukerjea, who has turned as the approver in the INX Media case Surjewala asked, 'what deal has been done needs to be determined'.
10:35 am: Utter disregard of the law in broad daylight, brazen political vendetta by Modi government, says Congress on Chidambaram’s arrest.
10:23 am: Under arrest, 'non-cooperative' Chidambaram hits back at CBI with more questions: Sources (READ FULL STORY HERE)
9:48 am: Tamil Nadu Congress has planned a protest in Chennai.
9:33 am: There are reports coming in that Chidambaram's questioning will commence today. At round 2 pm, the CBI will take him to court and seek maximum custody.
9:18 am: Chidambaram is accused of facilitating a huge infusion of foreign funds into INX Media in 2007. He apparently did so at the behest of his son Karti Chidambaram.
9:15 am: A day after the dramatic arrest, Senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid expressed anguish over the way Chidambaram was arrested. “It's deeply distressing that all that had to happen, there was no question of not being answerable to the law. The matter is listed on Friday, they could have waited till then to see what the Supreme Court wants to do,” Khurshid was quoted as saying.
9:10 am: During the dramatic presser, flanked by senior Supreme Court lawyers and party colleagues Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Chidambaram said he was working with his lawyers through the last night, preparing his papers for his bail application, which was filed before the Supreme Court earlier.
9:09 am: Chidambaram’s son Karti has said that his father has been arrested to divert attention from the Article 370 debate.