On Thursday, a special court in Delhi has reserved its order on a petition filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeking more seven-days custody of veteran Congress leader P Chidambaran in having a connection with the INX Media money-laundering case.
After hearing arguments from both the sides, the Special CBI Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar has reserved the order.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta has been appearing for the ED, has submitted that P Chidambaram had been challenged with documents showing beneficial ownership of his family members.
Mr. Mehta told the special court that “we need further custodial interrogation of P Chidambaram as he needs to be confronted with more documentary evidence and statements of other persons which reveal certain discrepancies. We have substantial evidence to show and confront.”
He continued, “We have asked him 65 questions,” adding that Mr. Chidambaram was responding to their interrogations in a slow manner, which affected the procedure of investigation.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal has appeared for P Chidambaram has strongly opposed the extension of custody and sought for two-days’ interim bail for medical reasons.
Advocate Sibal submitted documents that his client is facing serious health issues.
He told the special court that “they didn’t confront him (Chidambaram) with any witness and even if they want to confront my client, he can come and join the probe. They didn’t confront him with witnesses during this 7 days remand. You don’t need custody to interrogate him.”
To this, the judge asked the solicitor if the Congress leader can be confronted in judicial custody.
Justice Kuhur replied, “You didn’t confront him with witnesses and documents as of now? Is it possible to confront him in judicial custody?.”
Advocate Mehta further stated that “in the interest of justice, at the last stage of the investigation, it would not be possible.”
Opposing the same, Advocate Sibal has said that “what they want to do? Beat up my client or go coercive?”
Kapil Sibal has prayed that P Chidambaram is released on the interim bail for two-days in case the request to send him on medical grounds to Hyderabad is not permitted.
On Thursday, Delhi High Court had issued a notice to the ED seeking its reply on Mr. Chidambaram’s bail plea in the matter.
The Enforcement Directorate is investigating the money-laundering charges against the senior Congress leader has detained him on October 16, following which he was retained in judicial custody by a special court till October 24.
On 15th May, 2017, the CBI had lodged an FIR, alleging irregularities in a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance offered to the INX Media Group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007, during P Chidambaram’s regime as the Finance Minister of India.
Therefore, the Enforcement Directorate has registered a money-laundering case in 2017, in this regards.