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Chidambaram remanded to 4-day CBI custody

The CBI had sought custody of P Chidambaram, saying he was not cooperating in the investigation….Here’s all that transpired in the Special CBI Court…

In CBI custody well over 24 hours after the probe agency launched a manhunt for him, former Union Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram will have to stay in 4 day CBI custody till 26th August in INX Media Case.

He was presented before the Rouse Avenue Court on Thursday.

The Special CBI court remanded Chidambaram to CBI custody after hearing arguments from the counsels of CBI and Chidambaram for over 1 and a half hours.

CBI had produced Chidambaram before Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar and sought his 5-day remand for custodial interrogation, saying there is a need to unearth a larger conspiracy.

Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta appeared for CBI.

He said Chidambaram’s custodial interrogation was necessary to unearth the “quid pro quo and larger conspiracy” and he is required to be confronted with documents.

He said that the CBI was not extorting a confession from him but has the right to reach the root of the case.

Mehta placed the Delhi High Court’s judgment dismissing Chidambaram’s anticipatory bail plea and also referred to the observations made in it.

He said charge sheet has not been filed in the case yet and the case is at pre-charge sheet stage, therefore, CBI needs material which Chidambaram is holding and effective investigation is possible only in custodial interrogation.

Mehta contended that serious, active and informed role of the accused and money trail is made out and has to be probed.

He argued that Chidambaram’s custodial interrogation was required to get answers of certain questions for an effective probe.

Meanwhile Chidambaram’s lawyers opposed CBI’s contention…saying all the other accused, including Chidambaram’s son Karti, have already been granted bail in the case.

They also argued that the former Union Minister was not a flight risk.

Thursday’s developments in court took place after Chidambaram was arrested amid high voltage drama from his Jor Bagh residence on Wednesday evening.

A CBI team accompanied by a Delhi police team had arrived at his residence to arrest him.

With the main gate closed, some officers had to scale the walls of Chidambaram’s house to gain entry and arrested him.

CBI had registered an FIR on 15th May 2017, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as the finance minister.

Thereafter, the ED lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2018.

On May 30, 2007, FIPB cleared FDI of Rs 4.62 crore for INX Media. But it rejected the proposal of downstream investment of INX Media in INX News.

The CBI has alleged that INX Media flouted the conditional approval of FIPB, and brought in over Rs 305 crore of FDI in the firm against the approved inflow of Rs 4.62 crore.

In January 2008, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU-IND) of the Finance Ministry flagged the Foreign Direct Investment of over Rs 305 crore by three Mauritius-based companies in INX Media Pvt Ltd., then owned by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea.

Several years later, while investigating a company associated with Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram, ED found documents linked to INX Media in the computer of Karti’s CA Bhaskarraman.

The documents indicated payments made to Karti’s alleged company by INX Media at the time the Finance Ministry granted it FIPB approval.

CBI alleges that Karti influenced top officials of FIPB.

Indrani Mukherjee has disclosed to CBI that Karti’s company had demanded kickbacks from her. She has now turned approver in the case.

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