This morning, former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram was arrested by a three-member team of the Enforcement Directorate after questioning him for nearly an hour at Delhi’s Tihar Jail in the INX Media case.
The arrest comes one day after a special court agreed to the agency’s request for his custodial interrogation. The 74-year-old leader Congress leader has been in Tihar jail since September 5 for being related in a money laundering case.
Seeking Mr. Chidambaram’s custody, the investigation agency will be moving the CBI court later in the day. The application will be heard tomorrow. This morning, Mr. Chidambaram’s wife Nalini and son Karti also went to jail to meet him.
Karti after meeting his father said that he is in “good spirits”. He was quoted as saying by sources, “I came to meet my father. He is in good spirits. Whatever these procedural games are being played are for political theatrics. This is a bogus investigation.”
The probe agency on Tuesday had moved two applications to formally arrest Mr. Chidambaram and seek his custody. The ED has accused Mr. Chidambaram of money laundering in the INX Media case.
The probe agency was given a couple of options by the court, one is to question Mr. Chidambaram at the court premises for half an hour and then move an application for custody, otherwise sending him to Tihar jail for now and arresting him from there.
The agency chooses the second option. Initially, the ED wanted to arrest him as soon as possible. The officials even suggested that Mr. Chidamabaram can be interrogated at the Rouse Avenue court premise and then arrest but the judge intervened saying “dignity of the person should be considered”.
Previously, Mr. Chidambaram at a hearing in the Supreme Court said the CBI was keeping him in jail to “humiliate” him and so the judge made the remark. “Their game plan is to keep him in jail for 60 days… He wanted to surrender to ED while in CBI custody,” Kapil Sibal – Mr. Chidambaram’s legal counsel and party colleague – said.
On August 21, the CBI arrested Mr. Chidambaram and he has been in judicial custody on September 5 in the INX Media corruption case filed by the CBI. He is accused of signing off a huge infusion of foreign funds into the firm as the finance minister in the UPA government led by Manmohan Singh in 2007 at the behest of his son Karti Chidambaram.