The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday moved a plea in the High Court for permission to go ahead with the custodial interrogation of former finance minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media corruption case as he was not allegedly cooperating in the investigation. The investigating agency moved its application merely a few hours after Chidambaram's plea for extension of interim protection from arrest was granted by the Delhi High Court.
The premier investigation agency made the submission in an affidavit filed before Justice A K Pathak, who listed the matter for hearing on August 1 and extended till then the interim protection against arrest granted to Chidambaram on May 31. Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the CBI claimed in the affidavit that despite there being cogent and convincing material on record based on which questions were put to the former union minister, he chose to remain evasive and did not cooperate with the investigating agency.
The material collected so far and the intensity and the gravity of the offence which is unfolding, requires custodial interrogation of the petitioner (Chidambaram) which is quantitatively different.
"The investigating agency has reached the bona fide conclusion that in the absence of custodial interrogation, it will not be possible to reach the truth of the allegations as the petitioner has chosen to be evasive and noncooperative," the agency has said while seeking dismissal of Chidambaram's anticipatory bail plea.
The High Court, while granting him interim protection from arrest, had asked the senior Congress leader to join questioning and cooperate in the investigation as and when called by the CBI.
In Chidambaram's anticipatory bail plea, it was contended that the former minister was being harassed in the case, in which he was not named.
Chidambaram had on May 30 moved a trial court for protection from arrest in the Aircel-Maxis case of the Enforcement Directorate before approaching the high court in connection with the INX Media case.
The senior leader's role had come under the scanner of investigating agencies in the Aircel-Maxis deal of Rs 3,500 crore and INX Media case involving Rs 305 crore. It was during his tenure as the finance minister in the UPA-1 government that clearance from FIPB was granted to the two ventures.