INX media case: Delhi court sends Karti Chidambaram to 5-day CBI custody

In a dramatic development in the INX Media case, Karti Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI from Chennai airport on Wednesday on his return from abroad. 

INX media case: Delhi court sends Karti Chidambaram to 5-day CBI custody

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Thursday sent Karti Chidambaram to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) custody for five days. 

Karti has been arrested in the INX Media case. He was produced before the court on expiry of one-day CBI custody amidst the presence of his parents P Chidambaram and Nalini, both senior advocates, and were seen talking to him.

The court has allowed Karti's lawyer to meet him for one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening. Medicines will be allowed on prescription, but home food will not be allowed. 

Special Judge Sunil Rana extended Karti's custody till March 6, 2018, after the CBI contended that there were "very shocking evidences" of what he has done when he went abroad and alleging "when he went abroad, he closed bank accounts in which funds were received".

The investigating agency also told the court that there was clear evidence of links between Karti and various companies.

"We have emails and invoices indicating money was given to Advantage Strategic Consultancy Private Limited (ASCPL) in the time period when INX media received favours. There is clear evidence of links between Karti Chidambaram and various companies. We have emails and invoices indicating money was given to Advantage Strategic Consultancy Private Limited (ASCPL) in the time period when INX media received favours," the CBI said, as per ANI.

"The whole purpose of yesterday's (Wednesday) custody was defeated when after Karti's medical examination, the doctor got him shifted to Cardiac Care Unit. It was surprising because Karti didn't complain of anything. He was perfectly fine in morning but gave evasive answers when CBI questioned him," it added.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for CBI, maintained that this was "not a case of political vendetta" and the investigation was going on in accordance with Article 21 of the Constitution.

On the other hand, Karti's counsel and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi countered CBI`s demand for custodial interrogation by pointing out that the probe agency had not issued summons to his client yet. "There is no ground for custodial interrogation. How can CBI claim non-cooperation when they haven`t issued the summons? All documents are in their possession," he said.

Singhvi asked if Karti has done something illegal while being abroad, why didn't the CBI file a contempt petition before the court which allowed him to travel abroad.

In a dramatic development in the INX Media case, former finance minister P Chidambaram`s son Karti was arrested by the CBI from Chennai airport on Wednesday on his return from abroad. Later in the evening, he was remanded to one-day custody of the CBI by a Delhi court.

The arrest of Karti came nine months after the CBI registered an FIR against him on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, accepting gratification by corrupt or illegal means, influencing public servants and criminal misconduct. 

After his arrest in Chennai, CBI officials took him to Delhi by Wednesday afternoon. He was taken to the CBI headquarters and then produced before a Duty Magistrate.

Karti allegedly received Rs 3.5 crore from the Mumbai-based INX Media, now known as 9X Media, for helping it get Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance in 2007 when it was run by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, both accused in the Sheena Bora murder case, IANS reported.

The FIR does not mention Chidambaram senior, though it said he cleared the FIPB approval for Rs 4.62 crore FDI in the firm at an FIPB meeting on May 18, 2007. 

In Delhi, Metropolitan Magistrate Sumit Anand had granted the remand till 12.30 pm on Thursday. The CBI counsel had told the Duty Magistrate that they needed his custodial interrogation since he was not cooperating with the probe and was going abroad frequently. 

Rejecting the CBI claim, Singhvi had said on Wednesday that both charges against his client were false. He had said that Karti had appeared before the CBI and Enforcement Directorate for 30-40 hours and had cooperated.

However, the CBI counsel had said that Indrani, an accused in the case, had told a magistrate that Karti had met her in a Delhi hotel and demanded $1 million in bribe for the FIPB clearance in the INX case. 

(With Agency inputs)

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