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INX Media case: Karti Chidambaram to remain in CBI custody till March 9

Karti Chidambaram was arrested on February 28, 2018, at Chennai Airport on his return from the United Kingdom.

INX Media case: Karti Chidambaram to remain in CBI custody till March 9
Karti Chidambaram being produced by CBI in INX Media case at Patiala House Court in New Delhi on Tuesday (Pic courtesy: PTI)

New Delhi: Karti Chidambaram's CBI custody was extended by a Delhi court on Tuesday by three days till March 9. The son of senior Congress leader P Chidambaram has been arrested in the INX media case.

The agency, which produced Karti on expiry of his five-day police custody before special judge Sunil Rana, said though there has been "substantial progress" in last four days into the investigation into the case, he has "not been cooperating" and not parting with his phones passwords and to every question he has been saying that "I am politically victimised".

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, said Karti was taken to Mumbai and was confronted with Indrani Mukerjea, one of the then promoters of INX media at the Byculla prison and her statement has been just one of the evidence.

"New revelations in the matter have come up a day before yesterday (Sunday). Cannot divulge much about the investigation but we need his further custody to confront him with the new facts," Mehta told the court and also opposed Karti's bail plea saying that the investigation was at "crucial stage" and the CBI needs two weeks time to file detail reply to his bail application.

The ASG alleged that witnesses in the case are being approached and evidence destroyed.

On the other hand, senior advocate and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Karti, said the CBI just want to keep him in custody by hook or crook.

"I have cooperated. I am not obliged to answer what you (CBI) want to hear. My duty is only to make myself available for questioning," Singhvi submitted.

"The shifting of stands/reasons by the CBI to keep me in custody is a mala fide attempt on their part to get my custody," he said and questioned "Is Indrani's statement even an admissible evidence? She is in jail in murder case of her daughter."

He said Karti is not a terrorist with a bomb that he cannot be interrogated without being kept in custody.

On March 1, 2018, the court had allowed Karti's custodial interrogation by the CBI for five days, saying there was a need to unearth the larger conspiracy in the INX Media case and his presence would serve an important purpose.

During his five days of custody, Karti was taken to Mumbai where he was confronted with Indrani at the Byculla prison in connection with the case.

The CBI, during the last hearing, had claimed that Karti has to be confronted with the statement of various witnesses, including former RBI governor D Subba Rao.

Rao had headed a committee which dealt with the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) issue of INX Media before the approval was granted when Chidambaram was Union finance minister.

Karti was arrested on February 28, 2018, at Chennai Airport on his return from the United Kingdom, in connection with the FIR lodged on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds worth about Rs 305 crore in 2007 when his father was finance minister.

The fresh evidence in the case, triggering the arrest, was based on a statement from Indrani, also an accused in the Sheena Bora murder case, who recorded it under section 164 of the CrPC before a magistrate on February 17, 2018.

(With PTI inputs)