The Central Bureau of Investigation court on Thursday sent former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram to judicial custody till September 19 in connection with the INX Media case, PTI reported. On Tuesday, the court had extended the agency’s custody in accordance with the Supreme Court order till September 5.

Chidambaram was produced before Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, informed the judge about the outcome of the Supreme Court’s order in the Enforcement Directorate case. Both the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate are conducting inquiries in the INX Media case.

Mehta told the court that Chidambaram was a powerful and influential person, so he should be sent to judicial custody. Advocate Kapil Sibal, arguing for Chidambaram, countered this and said that there had been no case of the Congress leader tampering with probe or influencing evidence.

Sibal said that Chidambaram was ready to go to the ED custody in money laundering case related to the INX Media. “As far as CBI is concerned why should I [P Chidambaram] be sent to judicial custody [Tihar jail]?” Sibal asked. “They have asked all questions. I’m willing to go to ED’s custody. I should not be sent to judicial custody.”

The court directed that Chidambaram should be kept in a separate cell as he has Z-security. It also allowed Chidambaram to carry his medicines to jail.

He is likely to be lodged at the Tihar prison’s Jail Number 7. It usually houses those accused in ED cases. Mehta assured that there will be adequate security for Chidambaram in the jail.

Earlier on Thursday, the Supreme Court had rejected P Chidambaram’s plea for anticipatory bail in the INX Media case registered by the Enforcement Directorate. However, hours later a Delhi court granted anticipatory bail Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis case.

The case

The CBI has said there were irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board’s foreign direct investment clearance to INX Media in 2007, when P Chidambaram was the Union finance minister. The company was then owned by businesspersons Indrani and Peter Mukerjea, who are in jail in connection with the murder of Indrani Mukerjea’s daughter Sheena Bora.

According to the CBI, the company of P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram allegedly received Rs 10 lakh from INX Media for helping it escape punitive action for taking Rs 305 crore in foreign funding in 2007 despite having clearance for only Rs 4 crore.

In May 2017, the Enforcement Directorate filed a money laundering case against Karti Chidambaram, INX Media and the Mukerjeas. Indrani Mukerjea and Peter Mukerjea have reportedly told the investigating agencies that when they met P Chidambaram in 2006 in his North Block office, he asked them to meet Karti Chidambaram and help him with his business.

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