In a relief to Congress leader P Chidambaram, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday extended until August 1 the interim protection from arrest granted to him in the CBI’s INX Media case. The agency, however, pressed for Chidambaram’s custodial interrogation on the ground that there was “cogent and convincing material on record” but the Congress leader chose to remain “evasive, and did not cooperate with the investigating agency”.
Appearing for CBI, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told Justice A K Pathak by way of an affidavit that “during the investigation conducted so far, a strong prima facie case has emerged showing involvement of the petitioner (Chidambaram) in the offences, and a larger conspiracy is unfolding.”
The court extended the interim relief and asked Chidambaram to join and cooperate in questioning as and when called by the CBI. Appearing for Chidambaram, senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Dayan Krishnan and advocate P K Dubey assured the court that the Congress leader will cooperate with the agency. The court listed the matter for further hearing on August 1.
The CBI’s affidavit stated, “In spite of there being cogent and convincing material on record, based upon which the questions were put to the petitioner, the petitioner chose to remain evasive and did not cooperate with the investigating agency.”
It stated, “The material collected so far, and the intensity and gravity of the offence which is unfolding, requires custodial interrogation of the petitioner, which is quantitatively different. The investigating agency has reached a bona fide conclusion that in absence of custodial interrogation it will not be possible to reach the truth of the allegations, as the petitioner has chosen to be evasive and non-cooperative,”
The CBI maintained that Chidambaram’s anticipatory bail plea is “not maintainable”. On May 31, the former Finance minister had moved court seeking interim protection, fearing arrest in alleged INX Media corruption case. He was granted protection until July 3, which was extended on Tuesday.