The Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday filed a chargesheet in a Delhi court against former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media case, PTI reported. The chargesheet named 14 accused, including Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram, and former INX Media owners Peter Mukerjea and Indrani Mukerjea.
On Thursday, the court gave the Enforcement Directorate custody of Chidambaram till October 24 in the case. The agency, which arrested Chidambaram on Wednesday, had sought 14-day custodial interrogation.
Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar also extended the Congress leader’s judicial custody by a week in the case lodged by the CBI. The two investigating agencies are conducting separate inquiries in the money-laundering case.
The 74-year-old former minister has been in jail since September 5 in connection with the case. He was arrested by CBI on August 21.
SC reserves verdict in bail plea
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court reserved its order in the bail petition filed by Chidambaram in the case registered by the CBI in the INX Media case. The Congress leader had moved the top court earlier this week after the Delhi High Court dismissed his application.
The CBI, which opposed the request for bail, alleged that the 74-year-old Congress leader was a flight risk and could influence witnesses, according to NDTV.
“The witness has given a statement that he is being influenced,” said Solicitor General Tushar Mehta. “We don’t wish to disclose his identity and his name has been submitted to the CBI court in a sealed cover.”
Mehta said the country needs to have a “zero tolerance policy” on corruption. The investigating agency had been able to trace a large number of emails exchanged between the accused in its “scientific and professional investigation”, Hindustan Times quoted him as saying. “We have joined all the dots to get here so far.”
The Congress leader’s counsel Kapil Sibal pointed out that his passport had been impounded and there was a lookout notice against him. “He has never applied for travel,” Sibal told the court. “So where is the question of flight risk? How can he run away? He is recognised all over the world.”
The lawyer said Chidambaram had lost more than four kg in judicial custody, and there was no justification to keep him in jail, given the onset of winter and risk of dengue.
Sibal accused the government of trying to humiliate Chidambaram. “If the witness is influenced, it is the duty of the government to protect the witness... he hasn’t influenced anyone,” he added.
The case against Chidambaram
The CBI has alleged that there were irregularities in the foreign direct investment clearance granted to INX Media by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board in 2007. Chidambaram was the finance minister at the time. The agency has submitted purported emails between INX Media and a company belonging to Karti Chidambaram, claiming that these emails will “prove offences committed”.
The Enforcement Directorate filed a money laundering case in May 2017 against P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram, INX Media, and the company’s owners Indrani and Peter Mukerjea.
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