INX Media case live updates: Chidambaram remanded to 5-day CBI custody
Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram was produced before a special CBI court on Thursday after he was arrested amid high drama on Wednesday night for his alleged role in the INX Media corruption and money laundering case.
NEW DELHI: A Special CBI Court Thursday sent former finance minister P Chidambaram to five-day CBI custody till August 26. The Congress leader was arrested amid high drama on Wednesday night for his alleged role in the INX Media corruption and money laundering case.
Untraceable for over 25 hours, Chidambaram had finally surfaced at the Congress headquarters in Delhi on Wednesday evening, where he addressed the media denying all charges and defending himself. He was accompanied by top Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, KC Venugopal, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjuna Kharge, Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Salman Khurshid and Vivek Tankha.
In a brief press conference on Wednesday, Chidambaram had alleged political vendetta and expressed shock at being accused of running away from the law. “On the contrary I was seeking the protection of law,” he said.
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Chhattisgarh CM and Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel says, "P Chidamabaram was constantly criticising the policies of the Central Govt and was pointing out their failures. The government is not able to face the criticism and so they want to suppress the opposing voices."
"Accused's dignity cannot be violated", the special court told CBI while granting 5-day remand.
Special CBI Court sends Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram to CBI custody till August 26. Court added that family members and lawyers are permitted to meet him for 30 minutes a day.
Special Court remands Chidambaram to five-day CBI custody.
Supreme Court to hear P Chidambaram's petition against the Enforcement Directorate on August 27, whereas his petition against the CBI would be heard on Friday.
Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi leave the court room.
P Chidambaram in Court: "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."
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. Abhishek Manu Singhvi said there is Delhi HC Judgement that allows the accused to make a representation on his behalf. "Chidambaram may have to say something we don't know," Singhvi responds.
"Whether Karti was entitled to bail or not will not affect this case. Each case has its own merits," Tushar Mehta, arguing on behalf of CBI, counters.
"There was an affidavit filed by the prosecution in the HC that further investigation is going on and there was a need to interrogate. The prosecution has a reasonable ground to come to a conclusion that he was so evasive. And we have to reach to the root of the issue. This not called exercising the right of silence but it's being evasive. He is also mentioning the observations of HC judgement which said that the gravity of the offence did not make for granting of bail," added Mehta.
Singhvi in court: "Six out of 12 questions asked by CBI are old and can't these questions be asked outside custody? What is the point of custody?"
Special CBI court to pronounce order on Chidambaram's remand case in 30 minutes.
"A new word has come up- Gravity of Offence, the only way to judge gravity is the length of the sentence. Entire CRPC is based on up to seven years more than seven years. Grant of remand is an exception, and the investigation agency has to make a strong case showing that without custody they cannot proceed ahead," says Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
Congress workers on Thursday protested against former Chidambaram`s arrest in INX Media case in Chennai and Bhopal.
"The whole approach is wrong. When they say that he is evasive, it means that he is not answering the way they want him to answer," says Abhishek Manu Singhvi in court, arguing on behalf Chidamabaram.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi, arguing on behalf Chidamabaram, says in court, "Talking about 6 secretaries. None of the 6 persons are arrested but the man who approves is arrested. The entire case is based on the case diary and statement of Indrani Mukerjea. If the prosecution agency is so thirsty, why didn't they call him even once in 11-12 months?"
"Indrani Mukerjea is the fresh reason. This reason has been created so that it can be said that now CBI needs him again. Approver is a status, not proof," he adds.
"You delayed the judgement and say that he had a protective umbrella. Grant of police remand is an exception. I have an objection to the way the accused is dealt with. This is a case which has no evidence," Kapil Sibal, representing Chidambaram, rests his case.
Kapil Sibal arguing for P Chidambaram in court: "This is the case which has nothing to do with evidence but with something else. If a Judge has taken seven month to deliver the judgement(Delhi HC judgment rejecting anticipatory bail of Chidambaram) then is that the protected umbrella Chidambaram got? We are aggrieved."
Mehta, representing CBI, says in court, "The right to remain silent is a constitutional right, it does not bother us. But P Chidambaram is running away from questions."
Kapil Sibal in court: "He was asked 12 questions. He replied to six. Rest he said that he has already replied to them. Why did not they interrogate him in 2017? What are the documents? Which are the facts? Other accused are out on bail."
"Karti Chidambaram is on regular bail. The investigation conducted so far says that a payment of $5 million was made to him but they did not ask that question in 2017. But they asked that question yesterday night or this morning," says Sibal. "This payment is not related to Karti or his companies. This question was related to direct payment made to him. Where are the facts?"
Defending Chidambaram in court, Kapil Sibal says, "This is a matter of personal liberty. He had been cooperative. Please call for the records of investigation. Last night the CBI said that they want to interrogate him. But did not start interrogation till 12 noon and then asked 12 questions."
Sibal in court: "In this case FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) approval is given by six secretaries who are now placed in different departments. Any of them have not been arrested. Sanctions were sought for them. This case is of 2007-2008. The FIR was filed in 2017. Chidamabaram was interrogated only on one day. If he did not respond to CBI call they could have called again. But they never called."
Kapil Sibbal starts his argument in court.
"Accused in the case is Karti Chidambaram who's been granted bail. Another accused Bhaskaraman (Karti Chidambaram's chartered account) was granted anticipatory bail. Peter and Indrani Mukerjea are on default bail. A draft charge sheet has been prepared reflected on the judgement of the high court," says Sibal.
Arguing to take Chidamabaram into custody, Mehta says, "We are at pre-chargesheet stage and documents are not being provided by him. A serious and informed role of the accused is being presented. This needs to be probed. Mere appearance becomes just a formality until accused is under protective cover."
Citing Delhi High Court verdict, Mehta says that since Chidambaram is not cooperating in the investigation, he should be taken into remand.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for CBI, says that P. Chidambaram is not cooperating in the investigation, not answering questions.
Chidambaram has smile on his face during courtroom proceedings. Top lawyers and fellow Congress leaders Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Kapil Sibbal , Dayan Krishnan, and Vivek Tankha are all inside the courtroom.
Tushar Mehta, representing CBI, spoke on criminal conspiracy and how public Chidambaram influenced public servants. "He prevented punitive action, gave undue advantage. INX Media paid a substantial amount. NBW was also issued by the court pursuant to Chidambaram's arrest," said Mehta in court.
CBI says in Court that on application of CBI a non-bailable warrant was also issued and on that basis the arrest was made.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta arguing for CBI in Court says have moved an application seeking five-day custody of P Chidambaram
P Chidambaram has been brought to special CBI court by officials where special CBI judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar would hear his case. CBI is likely to demand 14-days custody of the former finance minister.
Around 100 police personnel deployed at Rouse Avenue court as P Chidambaram slated to arrive shortly for INX Media case hearing.
Over 100 cops have been deployed around Rouse Avenue court complex. Chidamabaram will be brought here shortly.
Ahead of the hearing of P Chidambaram in special CBI court, his wife Nalini, son Karti, his lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Congress leaders and senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Vivek Tankha are also present in the court.
The CBI ended its questioning of P Chidambaram after grilling him for several hours. The former finance minister will be produced in special CBI court shortly.
According to Zee Media sources, Chidambaram refuses to co-operate with CBI officials during the questioning and is not answering any questions posed by the CBI.
Karti Chidambaram, son of former finance minister P Chidambaram, reaches the special CBI court where his father would be produced along with their lawyer.
Addressing the reporters DMK President MK Stalin says that Chidambaram's arrest is a matter of shame for India and political vendetta, news agency ANI reports.
DMK President MK Stalin in Chennai on P Chidambaram arrested by CBI: I too saw how CBI jumped the wall & arrested him, it's a matter of shame for India, it is political vendetta. Chidambaram had asked for anticipatory bail but he was arrested, it's condemnable. pic.twitter.com/iaRZ1RGU1d
— ANI (@ANI) August 22, 2019
During the second round of questioning, CBI asks Chidambaram how many times he met Indrani Mukerjea. Further, CBI questions former finance minister if he asked his son Karti to meet Indrani and Peter Mukerjea.
Supreme Court will hear P Chidambaram's plea for interim bail against the ED on Friday. The Delhi High Court on Tuesday rejected bail pleas filed by Chidambaram against his arrest by the ED and the CBI in the INX Media money laundering case.
Enforcement Directorate (ED) officer Rakesh Ahuja probing INX Media case transferred back to Delhi Police.
Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy says that court takes decisions as per law and the party or the government has no role in it, news agency ANI reports. The minister further asserts that it is the court, and not the government that decides where to put the people who indulge in corruption.
Union Minister of State for Home,G Kishan Reddy on P Chidambaram arrested by CBI: Law will take its own course, the court takes decisions as per law,the party,the govt has no role in it. It's the court, not government that decides where to put the people who indulge in corruption pic.twitter.com/w5h6l1MIjF
— ANI (@ANI) August 22, 2019
Special CBI judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar arrives in court number 502 of Rouse Avenue.
The judge would first hear the case against Himachal Pradesh former chief minister Virbhadra Singh for amassing disproportionate assets. Following this, P Chidambaram would be produced in the court before judge Kuhar.
The DSP, SP, and DIG officers of the CBI are questioning Chidambaram in the INX Media money laundering case.
Further, a meeting likely to prepare remand papers is being held between Director of CBI, Director (Prosecution) and Joint Director (Economic).
Karti Chidambaram now says that the protest at Jantar Mantar is on the revocation of Article 370, news agency ANI reported.
"Our whole party, alliance parties, the leader of DMK raised this issue (P Chidambaram's arrest) as well, Mr MK Stalin condemned it yesterday, " Karti tells reporters.
Karti Chidambaram in Delhi: The protest in Jantar Mantar is about #Article370. Our whole party, alliance parties, the leader of DMK raised this issue (P Chidambaram's arrest) as well, Mr. MK Stalin condemned it yesterday. https://t.co/mkTlgE3OHF
— ANI (@ANI) August 22, 2019
Defending himself and his father in the INX Media case, Karti Chidambaram said, "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."
Karti Chidambaram in Delhi: 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. https://t.co/mkTlgE3OHF
— ANI (@ANI) August 22, 2019
Congress calls the arrest of Chidambaram as brazen personal and political vendetta.
Speaking at a press conference, party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala claims that India has witnessed murder of democracy.
"It is an attempt to tarnish the Congress's image. CBI, ED are being misused."
Security tightened around Rouse Avenue court premises where special CBI judge would hear the INX Media case in which P Chidambaram was arrested on Wednesday night.
Some of the questions the CBI is likely to ask Chidambaram during the questioning are:
1. Why did you not get involved in the investigation despite being served a notice?
2. Where were you in between the period of Delhi High Court rejecting your bail plea and you holding the press conference at AICC headquarters?
The CBI has filed FIR in the case on sections 120b (Criminal Conspiracy) of the IPC, 420 (Cheating) of the IPC, and Prevention of Corruption Act of section 8, 13(2), 13 (1)d.
The ED is investigating the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra likely to hold a press conference over the arrest of former finance minister P Chidambaram in INX Media money laundering case.
Karti Chidambaram says he will protest at Jantar Mantar against the arrest of his father.
Karti Chidambaram arrives in Delhi. "My father is innocent, he is being falsely implicated. The allegations against him are false and his arrest is illegal," he tells reporters outside the airport.
The Enforcement Directorate will arrest Chidambaram once CBI completes questioning him.
It has also been learnt that Chidambaram could move his bail application today instead of tomorrow.
Special CBI court judge is expected to hear P Chidambaram's case in Rouse Avenue court at 2 pm on Thursday. CBI is likely to demand Chidambaram's custody for 14 days in the court hearing. According to sources, Chidambaram might file plea for his bail in the court.
Lashing out at Congress over P Chidambaram's arrest, Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that the party was trying to gain political mileage over his (Chidambaram) arrest. Naqvi further slammed Congress and said that it was synonymous to corruption.
According to Zee Media sources, the CBI has prepared a list of of over 100 questions for former finance minister P Chidambaram and is expected to seek his custody for the maximum duration possible from the special CBI court on Thursday.
P Chidambaram will be produced before special CBI court judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar on Thursday in INX Media case.
Saying that Chidambaram has been non-cooperative and evasive in answering its questions, CBI is expected to demand the maximum custody of the former finance minister in the money laundering case. CBI had earlier also requested permission of custodial interrogation.
Medical tests of former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram were conducted inside the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) headquarters in New Delhi, news agency ANI quoted sources as saying.
Karti Chidambaram, son of P Chidambaram, leaves from Chennai Airport. P Chidambaram would be produced in special CBI court on Thursday following his arrest on Wednesday night.
Karti Chidambaram, son of P Chidambaram leaves from Chennai Airport. P. Chidambaram was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) yesterday. pic.twitter.com/suOILZAh7Q
— ANI (@ANI) August 22, 2019
Speaking to reporters from Chennai, Karti Chidambaram, on his father P Chidambaram's arrest, said, "This has been done only to create a spectacle on TV and to tarnish the image of Congress party and the former Finance and Home Minister. This is a completely trumped-up case in which he (P Chidambaram) has absolutely no connection. We will fight this out politically and legally."
Karti Chidambaram in Chennai: This has been done only to create a spectacle on TV & to tarnish the image of Congress party& the former Finance&Home Minister. This is completely trumped-up case in which he has absolutely no connection. We will fight this out politically&legally. https://t.co/doNga6q6rg
— ANI (@ANI) August 22, 2019
Karti Chidambaram, son of former finance minister P Chidambaram, reacted to the latter's arrest by the CBI and said, "This is a totally vindictive and malicious act, done by a pliant agency. This is only done to settle political scores. There was absolutely no necessity to have done this."
Karti Chidambaram on P Chidambaram arrested by CBI, in Chennai: This is a totally vindictive and malicious act, done by a pliant agency. This is only done to settle political scores. There was absolutely no necessity to have done this. pic.twitter.com/Fbu03l9nfe
— ANI (@ANI) August 22, 2019
A high-level of drama unfolded on Wednesday night after a team of CBI officials arrived at the Congress office soon after former finance minister P Chidambaram left for his home in Delhi's Jor Bagh. The seven-member CBI team came knocking at the Congress leader's home but found the gates locked. They were forced to jump over the boundary wall to enter the premises. Another team of ED officials also reached his home. Later, he was formally arrested by the CBI and would be produced in court on Thursday.