Updated: March 6, 2018 9:03:33 pm
A Special CBI Court in Delhi on Tuesday extended the custody of Karti Chidambaram by three more days as the probe agency opposed his bail plea saying that his custodial interrogation in the INX Media corruption case was necessary to confront him with the “new facts”. The bail plea will now be heard on March 9. The agency had sought nine-day custody.
Karti alleged that the CBI was acting at the behest of the Centre to malign the reputation of his father during whose tenure FIPB clearance was granted to the INX Media group.
He contended that his arrest was “illegal and arbitrary” but the agency opposed his bail plea, saying the investigation was at a crucial stage and his custodial interrogation was necessary to unearth the entire conspiracy in the INX Media corruption case.
CBI which had 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, a further probe is required.
During the period of remand, all the conditions laid down in the March 1 order will prevail — that Karti Chidambaram will be medically examined every 24 hours and will be at liberty to seek the assistance of his counsel , one hour each in the morning and evening. Though he will be permitted to carry medicines on prescription with him, he will be denied home food.
“New revelations in the matter have come up day before yesterday. Cannot divulge much about the investigation but we need his further custody to confront him with the new facts,” Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, told the court. He also added that the investigation was “crucial stage” and the CBI needs two weeks time to file detail reply to his bail application. Karti, he added, has “not been cooperating” and not parting with his phones passwords and to every question, he has been saying that “I am politically victimised”.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Karti, said the CBI just want to keep him in custody by hook or crook. “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,” the senior advocate said and questioned “Is Indrani’s statement even an admissible evidence? She is in jail in murder case of her daughter.”
Requesting for a bail for Karti, Singhvi added that he is not a terrorist with a bomb that he cannot be interrogated without being kept in custody. “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.
His father and former Union finance minister P Chidambaram and mother, Nalini Chidambaram, also a senior advocate, were present in the courtroom during the hearing. The court had allowed him to meet them for 10 minutes.
Karti Chidambaram was arrested on February 28 at Chennai Airport on his return from the United Kingdom, in connection with the FIR lodged on May 15 last year 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.
(With inputs from PTI)
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