Former Union finance minister P Chidambaram has already filed a fresh plea in the Supreme Court challenging the trial court's order remanding him to CBI custody till August 26 in the INX Media corruption case. He is currently spending his nights in the CBI headquarters on Lodhi Road. However, the senior Congress leader could be moved to Tihar Jail during his expected judicial custody.
Highly placed sources in the Tihar jail told IANS that Chidambaram, in all probability, is expected to be sent to jail once his CBI remand is done.
"We are not concerned with the period of CBI or ED custody. We are making preparations for his judicial custody, as he is expected to be lodged in Tihar, as per the jurisdiction," said a senior official of the Tihar jail, considered the biggest prison complex in Asia.
The report suggests that he could be lodged in jail no 7 – meant for economic offenders - if not granted bail in coming days. As per jail manual, inmates sleep on the floor, but senior citizens are provided a 'wooden takht' without a mattress. 73-year-old Chidambaram would be provided this ‘takht’ to sleep after a medical test.
The other option which jail authorities are keeping open is of ‘jail no 1’. In case intelligence reports suggest a high threat perception for Chidambaram, he could be shifted to ‘jail no 1’.
"Top builders of Delhi NCR and 2G spectrum scam accused are lodged in Jail No 1. Sahara supremo Subrato Roy and former Chairman of Commonwealth Games (2010) Organizing Committee, Suresh Kalmadi, was also lodged in the same jail," said a source.
Jail No 1 has an exclusive kitchen attached to the wards and also has western style toilets. Regarding the food, an official said: "Food remains the same as served in the rest of jails in Tihar."
Meanwhile, in his fresh plea, Chidambaram justified approaching the top court directly against the trial court's orders without knocking the doors of the Delhi High Court, saying "the detention/arrest of the petitioner and the subsequent remand of the petitioner to custody of respondent agency are a direct sequitur of the judgment dated August 20, 2019...rejecting the petitioner's application for anticipatory bail and making certain observations on the merits of the case itself".
He said the plea pertained to his liberty, which was "illegally curtailed".
"It is the case of the petitioner that the detention/arrest of the petitioner in pursuance of a non-bailable warrant issued on August 21, 2019 and his subsequent remand by the order dated August 22, 2019 are totally without jurisdiction and authority of law," the plea said.
The Congress leader said the trial court had passed the order of his arrest as a matter of course, without any application of mind and without even considering that the top court was seized of the matter.
Chidambaram, as an interim relief, has sought an ex-parte stay of the two trial court orders till the disposal of his appeals filed against the high court order.
On Friday, the top court granted protection from arrest till August 26 to Chidambaram in a money-laundering case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the INX Media case, for which he was already facing custodial interrogation by the CBI in a related corruption case.
With Agency Inputs