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INX media case: CBI gets Chidambaram’s custody for four days

Congress leaders and lawyers Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi were with Chidambaram when he was placed under arrest.

A Delhi court on Thursday allowed the CBI to take Congress leader P Chidambaram into its custody for four days in connection with its probe into the alleged corruption in the INX Media case. Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar instructed the CBI to conduct Chidambaram’s medical examination as per rules. He also allowed family members and lawyers of the former Union minister to meet him for half an hour every day while in CBI custody.

“Considering the facts and circumstances, I am of the view that police custody is justified,” the judge said, remanding Chidambaram to CBI custody until August 26. He was produced in court after spending the night in CBI custody following his arrest amid high drama Wednesday night. CBI personnel scaled the boundary walls of Chidamba-ram’s Jor Bagh residence in New Delhi to place him under arrest.

A team of the Enforcement Directorate, probing alleged money laundering charges, also showed up at his house before he was taken away in a CBI vehicle at night. Congress leaders and lawyers Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi were with Chidambaram when he was placed under arrest.

The former minister, also a member of the Congress Working Committee, was taken into custody soon after he addressed a press conference at the AICC headquarters on Akbar Road where he claimed innocence. Flanked by the top leadership of the Congress, he said neither he nor any member of his family had been made an accused in the INX Media case. He said no chargesheet had been filed in the case and the FIR by the CBI did not impute “any wrongdoing” by him. He said he will respect the law even if it is applied with an “unequal hand” by the investigating agencies.

Chidambaram had failed to get immediate protection from arrest from the Supreme Court, which decided to hear on Friday his petition seeking stay of the Delhi High Court order that had dismissed his anticipatory bail plea. Sibal and a battery of lawyers, who were representing him, did not get any respite despite the urgency cited to take up his petition for interim bail.

The CBI and the ED, meanwhile, issued separate lookout notices for Chidambaram after they failed to reach him over the last 24 hours.
PTI adds: Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, criticised the BJP government over the arrest of Chidambaram. “This is nothing but vendetta politics against Congress leaders. Chidambaram was targeted as he was very vocal on the issues of corruption and misdeeds of BJP leaders. The arrest is an attempt to intimidate and silence him and other Opposition leaders,” he said.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said the arrest of Chidambaram was “depressing” and alleged that the judiciary was not coming to the help of a “crying” democratic system. In her first reaction after Chidambaram’s arrest on Wednesday evening, Banerjee quoted Rabindranath Tagore and said the “message of justice is crying silently in isolation”.

“P Chidambaram is an economist, and a former home minister and finance minister. The manner in which he has been arrested is depressing. There are four pillars of democracy: democratic institutions, Election Commission, media and judicial system. The democratic system of our country is crying, yet the judiciary is not coming to its aid,” she said in a statement issued by the Trinamool Congress.

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Source: Financial Express