Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Friday allowed the Central Bureau of Investigation to have custody of Karti Chidambaram till March 12 in connection with the INX Media case. The agency had sought custody of former Union minister P Chidambaram’s son for six more days.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said “new incriminating materials” had been found against Karti Chidambaram, necessitating further custodial interrogation.
He said a compact disk had been recovered from the office of Advantage Strategies Pvt Ltd, a firm in Chennai, and it needed to be sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory for examination.
The court also allowed the CBI’s application seeking permission to confront Karti Chidambaram with his chartered accountant S Bhaskararaman in Tihar jail. Bhaskararaman was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in the case and his judicial custody was extended on Friday till March 22.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Karti Chidambaram, opposed the extension of CBI custody. “It’s tragic for me. They have no new reason for my remand,” Singhvi said on behalf of Chidambaram. “They are inventing one. CBI has to justify remand every day and every minute.”
Earlier on Friday, the Delhi High Court had granted Karti Chidambaram interim relief from the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the case. The court asked the agency to not arrest him till March 20, when it will take up the matter again.
The High Court issued notices to the Enforcement Directorate and the Centre on Karti Chidambaram’s plea, which claimed that the agency did not have the jurisdiction to issue notices based on a First Information Report filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
A Delhi court had sent Chidambaram to CBI custody on March 6, which expired on Friday. On Wednesday, the CBI had moved a Delhi court seeking a narco-analysis test on him.
In May 2017, the ED had filed a money laundering case against Karti Chidambaram, INX Media and its directors, including Indrani Mukerjea and Peter Mukerjea. Chidambaram’s company had allegedly received Rs 10 lakh from the company – which got clearance from the Foreign Exchange Promotion Board for foreign funding of Rs 4 crore, but had actually received Rs 305 crore in 2007. P Chidambaram was the finance minister in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at that time.
The money was paid to Karti Chidambaram in return for help to get out of the situation without facing any punitive action, the Enforcement Directorate had told the court. Karti Chidambaram has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in the INX Media case.