Special CBI Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar has sent P Chidambaram to 7 days of police custody in ED's application in INX Media case.
SG Tushar Mehta submitted before the court that the application for police custody is being moved now because enough material to interrogate Chidambaram was not available at the time when he had wished to surrender. It was also pointed out by the SG that the Supreme Court, in its judgment rejecting Chidambaram's anticipatory bail in the present case, had also mentioned the need for custodial interrogation.
Challenging the remand application, Kapil Sibal argued that no new material has been put on record by the agency which warrants their decision of moving an application now and not earlier. He said
'Averments made in the present application is exactly similar to what they had submitted before the Supreme Court. So why wasn't the accused taken into custody when he had offered to surrender'
Sibal further argued that why wasn't Chidambaram interrogated when he was in judicial custody in the CBI matter. Moreover, not examining the 12 witnesses before also casts doubts on the intentions of the agency.
The Special Judge has also allowed Chidambaram's application seeking home-cooked food, western toilet and family visits during his police custody.
The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday had arrested former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram from Tihar jail in connection with money laundering allegations in the INX media case.
Earlier, the Special Judge had passed an order stating that ED has to first interrogate P Chidambaram in Tihar before seeking his arrest. Once, the interrogation would be over, the agency could move the court for seeking permission to arrest as Chidambaram is currently kept in judicial custody.
As per the order, ED went to Tihar Jail and interrogated Chidambaram in the morning itself. After his interrogation, an application was moved in the afternoon, where it was informed to the Special Judge that the agency has arrested Chidambaram and now seeks his production for police remand.
The Special Judge had earlier dismissed Chidambaram's plea for surrendering in the money laundering case after the ED said it would seek his custody when required.
The CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the clearance granted by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram's tenure as the finance minister.
The Enforcement Directorate subsequently had lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2017.