INX Media case: Delhi court extends P Chidambaram’s judicial custody till November 27

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Updated: Nov 13, 2019 6:12 PM

Special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar passed the order after the senior Congress leader was produced before the court through video conference.

INX Media case, P Chidambaram, Delhi court, Enforcement Directorate,CBI, INX Media groupThe case was registered by the CBI on May 15, 2017. (File photo: IE)

A Delhi court Wednesday extended the judicial custody of former finance minister P Chidambaram till November 27 in the INX Media money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate. Special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar passed the order after the senior Congress leader was produced before the court through video conference. Chidambaram could not be brought to the Rouse Avenue Courts premises due to the lawyers’ strike in district courts in the national capital. The ED moved an application seeking extension of custody which was allowed by the court.

Chidambaram, 74, was arrested by the CBI on August 21 in the INX Media corruption case and is currently in the ED custody in a related money laundering matter. The CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017 alleging irregularities in a 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 finance minister. Thereafter, the ED lodged a money-laundering case in this regard in 2017. It took him into the custody on October 16 this year. The Delhi High Court on November 8 reserved order on his bail application in the case after hearing arguments from the lawyers appearing for Chidambaram and the ED.

During the arguments, the ED vehemently opposed his plea saying he has tried to influence and threaten witnesses. It told the court that money laundering case was heinous crime and “much, much, much more serious than it meets the eyes”. “It is the gravest of grave offence as it is an economic offence which is a standalone offence,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the ED, had argued. The senior Congress leader sought bail saying that the evidence is documentary and as he is in the custody of probe agencies, he cannot tamper with it.

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Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, said since the beginning, the probe agency’s case was never that the Congress leader tried to influence witnesses, but suddenly in October, when he was in custody, it was alleged that he had tried to put pressure and influence key witnesses. He was arrested by the CBI on August 21 in the INX Media corruption case. The Supreme Court had on October 22 granted bail to Chidambaram in the corruption case lodged by the CBI saying he is neither a “flight risk” nor is there a possibility of “his abscondence from the trial”.

The case was registered by the CBI on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in a 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 finance minister. Thereafter, the ED had lodged a money-laundering case in this regard in 2017.

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