A special CBI court on Tuesday sent Karti Chidambaram, son of senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, arrested in the INX Media case, to three more days of CBI custody. The arguments on Karti Chidambaram's bail plea will be held on March 9.
Earlier in the day, the CBI had produced Karti Chidambaram before a Delhi court and sought his custody for nine more days.
Special Judge Sunil Rana said the court will hear the matter at 2 pm today as Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, who had appeared before it on the last hearing, was not available for arguments on behalf of the CBI.
The probe agency on Tuesday submitted before the court certain documents in a sealed cover related to the probe done in the case in last six days.
The court allowed Karti Chidambaram to meet his father, senior Congress Leader P Chidambaram, and mother Nalini Chidambaram, who were present in the courtroom, for 10 minutes.
During his five days of custody, Karti Chidambaram was taken to Mumbai where he was confronted with former INX Media director Indrani Mukerjea at the Byculla prison in connection with the case.
On March 1, the court had allowed Karti Chidambaram’s custodial interrogation by the CBI for five days, saying there was need to unearth the larger conspiracy in the INX Media case and his presence would serve an important purpose.
Seeking extension of custody, the CBI counsel V K Sharma said it was able to gather some information even though Karti Chidambaram was “evasive” while answering routine questions.
“It is necessary that he be remanded to police custody for a further nine days to elicit further information,” the agency added.
While granting police custody, the court on March 1 had come to the conclusion that Karti Chidambaram’s presence was needed for important and specific purposes connected with the completion of the investigation in the present case, the CBI said.
The agency also reminded the court about its previous order in which it was stated that Karti Chidambaram’s custody remand was necessary to confront him with documents, co-accused and to unearth the larger conspiracy and the role of other accused person involved in the case.
The CBI, during the last hearing, had claimed that Karti Chidambaram has to be confronted with the statement of various witnesses, including former RBI governor D Subba Rao.
Rao had headed a committee which dealt with the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) issue of INX Media before the approval was granted when Chidambaram was Union finance minister.
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.
The fresh evidence in the case, triggering the arrest, was based on a statement from Indrani Mukerjea, also an accused in the Sheena Bora murder case, who recorded it under section 164 of the CrPC before a magistrate on February 17.
During the last hearing, the probe agency had contended that there were “very shocking evidences” of what Karti Chidambaram had done when he went abroad. “...when he went abroad, he closed bank accounts in which funds were received,” it alleged.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Karti Chidambaram, had said there was not an iota of evidence against him. “...He is being arrested despite complying with court orders repeatedly.”
According to the CBI, in May 2007, the first FIPB approval was given to INX Media. In April 2008, this reference was made in the Finance Ministry.
From June 2008 onwards, the payment of the bribe money was started. The second FIPB approval was given on November 2, 2008. “We are investigating whether the April 2008 reference was a ‘pressure technique’,” the CBI contended following Singhvi’s claim that it was P Chidambaram who had himself ordered a probe in the matter when he was finance minister.