New Delhi: Former Union minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram, arrested on Wednesday in connection with the INX Media corruption case, was remanded to CBI custody till Monday. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that Chidambaram had to be interrogated in custody as he was “not being co-operative and being evasive in his replies.”
“Considering the facts and circumstances, I am of the view that police custody is justified,” Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar said.
Allowed a brief submission, Chidambaram maintained that on June 6 last year, he had answered all questions and CBI was merely “repeating what they had asked.” He said that “I have provided all the details of all my bank accounts to CBI.” His wife Nalini and son Karti were present in the packed courtroom.
During the four-day custody, Chidambaram will be medically examined regularly. The court allowed his family and lawyers to meet him for half an hour every day.
The 73-year-old Chidambaram was immediately whisked away by the CBI team to its headquarters. He was represented by top Congress legal brains Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Vivek Tankha.
The arguments from both sides lasted two hours. CBI counsel maintained that Chidambaram’s “custodial interrogation” was needed to “unearth a larger conspiracy.” The defence argued that all the other accused, including son Karti, have already been granted bail in the case.
CBI counsel made it clear that the agency was in “no way extorting confession” from Chidambaram. “It is a serious case involving intelligent people and we will fail in our duty if we don’t get to the root of the case,” Mehta said, adding that even Karti underwent custodial interrogation in the case. He claimed that at this juncture “certain facts about the case cannot be discussed in an open court.”
Sibal argued that the first arrest in the case was of Bhaskar Raman, Karti’s chartered accountant, who is out on bail.