NEW DELHI: Former Union minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, who was on Thursday remanded to a 5-day CBI custody following his arrest in the INX Media case, was grilled till midnight at the headquarters of the central probe agency.
Chidambaram was brought to the CBI headquarters following the court's order and was served tea around 7 PM. He was then grilled by the CBI officials regarding the FIPB approval given by him to the shell companies owned by his son Karti in connection with the INX media case.
However, Chidambaram said that he could not recall incidents related to it and asked for the rulebook to know as to what was the policy at that time.
Chidambaram was then given the rulebook, which he studied for about 45 minutes and then answered questions asked by the CBI officials in connection with the case.
According to Zee Media sources, the senior Congress leader was grilled till midnight by the agency officials.
Chidambaram was given home-cooked food and clean cloths as he prepared to spend his first night at the CBI headquarters after being remanded to five-day custody.
He had asked for home-cooked food and refused to have the canteen food in the CBI greenhouse when he was first arrested by the agency and taken to its HQ on Wednesday night.
He was then told that home-cooked food can be provided to him only after the court's order. His medical examination was also conducted by the doctors in front of the CBI officials and his vital parameters were found to be normal.
It may be noted that the probe against Chidambaram is being pursued by the two central agencies - ED and the CBI - in connection with the INX media case.
The Supreme Court will on Friday hear an anticipatory bail plea moved by him for protection against his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the INX Media alleged corruption case. His appeal would be heard by a bench comprising Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna.
On Thursday, a special CBI court allowed the investigation agency to have his custody until August 26 for questioning. The court said Chidambaram’s family could meet him for half an hour every day. Delhi High Court had earlier turned down his appeal for protection from arrest in the case.
The Congress leader had approached the top court on Wednesday for a prompt hearing, but the case was listed for hearing on Friday. The same evening, he was arrested by the CBI from his residence in south Delhi amid high drama.
Chidambaram has been accused of facilitating a huge infusion of foreign funds into a television company, INX Media, in 2007 at the behest of his son Karti Chidambaram, who allegedly received kickbacks for this. At the time, he was the country's finance minister in the UPA government. Chidambaram has categorically denied any wrongdoing.
On Wednesday, repeated attempts by Chidambaram's lawyers to get an urgent hearing from the Supreme Court the same day were thwarted by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta opposed the request, saying that he did not have the documents needed to argue his stand.
Chidambaram was brought to the Special CBI Court after being questioned for three hours at the CBI headquarters on Thursday morning.
During the hearing, he denied the prosecution's claim that he had been "uncooperative" and told the judge that there was no need for custodial interrogation by the CBI because he was neither tampering with the evidence nor liable to become a flight risk.
The court said sending him to CBI custody until August 26 was "justified". "The allegations against Chidambaram are serious in nature, and an in-depth investigation is required," it said.