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Chidambaram arrest Updates: Ex-FM to remain in CBI custody till August 26

P Chidambaram-INX Media case: His family and lawyers have been permitted to visit him for 30 minutes every day.

twitter-logo BusinessToday.In   New Delhi     Last Updated: August 22, 2019  | 20:12 IST
Chidambaram arrest Updates: Ex-FM to remain in CBI custody till August 26
P Chidambaram-INX Media case: Ex-FM to be in CBI custody for 5 days

Chidambaram arrest updates: A special CBI court has ordered former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram to remain in CBI custody till August 26. His family and lawyers have been permitted to visit him for 30 minutes every day. Senior lawyers Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared on behalf of P Chidambaram at the court and argued that there is no basis for the remand. Sibal had argued that CBI was not even ready with the questions and managed to ask only twelve. He added that the FIPB approval was given by six government secretaries, out of whom none have been arrested. Singhvi chimed in and said that the entire CBI case is based on Indrani Mukherjea's evidence and case diary. He also said that Chidambaram has been co-operative during the probe.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who appeared on behalf of the CBI said that Chidambaram is being non-cooperative and that the INX Media case is a "classic case of money laundering". The Solicitor General said that $5 million and $45,000 were paid to companies linked to his son, Karti Chidambaram.

Meanwhile, protests from Opposition parties have been growing louder. NCP spokesperson said that the case against P Chidambaram was nothing but political vendetta, while the Congress said that the CBI becomes proactive only while investigating cases against Opposition leaders and not in case of BJP ministers. Mamata Banerjee said in a statement, "The manner in which he has been arrested is depressing. There are four pillars of democracy: democratic institutions, Election Commission, media and judicial system. The democratic system of our country is crying, yet the judiciary is not coming to its aid."

Follow all the latest updates on P Chidamabaram's arrest on BusinessToday.In live blog

Also read: What is INX Media case; a look at the genesis of P Chidambaram and son Karti's misfortunes

7.49 PM: Chidambaram's lawyer Vivek Tankha said that they will argue the case against the ED. "Hopeful that we can get relief from arrest by ED," he said.

7.10 PM: CBI team reaches headquarters with P Chidambaram.

7.00 PM: Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel: P Chidamabaram was constantly criticising the policies of the Central govt and was pointing out their failures. The govt is not able to face the criticism and so they want to suppress the opposing voices.

6.55 PM: P Chidambaram's medical test has to be conducted in accordance with law: Court

6.54 PM: "I have gone through this myself. This is what we expected. We will see what happens in the Supreme Court on Friday," said Karti Chidambaram.

6.51 PM: Former Union Finance Minister #PChidambaram being taken from Court.

6.41 PM: Court says family members and lawyers are permitted to meet P Chidambaram for 30 minutes a day. Investigation agency to ensure that personal dignity of accused is not violated.

6.37 PM: P Chidambaram to remain in CBI custody till August 26.

6.36 PM: Judge arriving shortly, lawyers asked to settle down.

6.35 PM: Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury Thursday criticised the BJP government for pursuing vendetta politics against the party's leaders and said former union finance minister P Chidambaram was arrested as he was vocal on corruption by the saffron party leaders. The way Chidambaram was arrested late on Wednesday night is undemocratic and completely unacceptable, he told PTI.

The former union minister's name was not there in the charge sheet of the INX media corruption case and he had always cooperated with CBI during the investigation. "The sole intention is to malign P Chidambaram and the Congress," he said.

Continuing his attack, Chowdhury said the "Proactive CBI becomes an inactive probe agency when it comes to investigation of graft cases against BJP leaders. "This is nothing but vendetta politics against Congress leaders. Chidambaram was targeted as he was very vocal on the issues of corruption and misdeeds of BJP leaders.

The arrest is an attempt to intimidate and silence him and other opposition leaders," the Congress lawmaker said.

"It is strange that the CBI becomes pro active while investigating graft cases of opposition leaders. But when it comes to probing graft cases against BJP leaders such as in the Bellary scam, Vyapyam scam, Rafale and many more, the investigating agencies become inactive. There is virtually no progress in these cases," he alleged. "This only shows how BJP is using the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate as a political weapon to serve its own purposes," he added.

(PTI)

6.25 PM: CBI Sources: CBI is also investigating the trail of payments in several companies abroad and letter of Rogatory (LR) have been sent to the concerned countries - ANI

6.09 PM: The NCP on Thursday smelt "political vendetta" behind the CBI and ED's actions against senior Congress leader P Chidambaram and MNS chief Raj Thackeray, respectively. NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik alleged it was the Modi government's "model" of "misusing" probe agencies to harass opposition leaders who speak up against it and added people will see through the developments. Hitting out at the BJP government over Enforcement Directorate's (ED) summons to Thackeray, NCP leader Dhananjay Munde said that an "undeclared Emergency" has become more apparent in the country now.

"Present Union Home Minister Amit Shah must have felt he had to go to jail in a case when Chidambaram was the Union Home Minister (in 2010). The genesis of the action against Chidambaram is in that mindset (of Shah)," Malik alleged.

The NCP leader further charged that there are leaders in the BJP who have CBI and ED cases pending before them, yet they were not raided by the probe agencies.

(PTI)

6.00 PM: Supreme Court to hear P Chidambaram's petition against the Enforcement Directorate on August 27, whereas his petition against the CBI would be heard tomorrow - ANI

5.35 PM: P Chidambaram asked for help for his son Karti's business and make overseas remittances in lieu of granting FIPB approval to INX Media, Indrani Mukerjea had told investigators probing the money laundering and corruption case related to the media firm. Mukerjea recorded her statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and said she and her husband Peter Mukerjea met Chidambaram at his office in Delhi's North Block. Both P Chidambaram and his son Karti have denied the allegations.

"Peter started the conversation with Mr P Chidambaram referring to the application of INX Media for bringing in FDI and handed copy of the application to Mr P Chidambaram.

"After having understood the issue, Mr P Chidambaram told Peter to help his son Karti in his business and make possible overseas remittances in lieu of FIPB approval," Indrani said in her statement to the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

(PTI)

5.28 PM: "It's a privilege to hear Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi in court. Master class. They should video record all court proceedings. Will be most useful to all students of law, particularly those interested in court craft," tweeted Karti Chidambaram.

5.20 PM: Congress lawyers Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi outside CBI Court after hearing on former Finance Minister  P Chidambaram's bail in INX media case.

5:15 PM: A sense of disbelief and outrage was palpable among supporters of Congress leader P Chidambaram in and around his native village of Karaikudi in Sivaganga district over his arrest, even as a section of people expressed indifference and some outrightly opposed him.

Expressing disbelief, V Nelliyan told PTI "this is nothing but an act of political vendetta."

Condemning the arrest, the young man, before proceeding to a protest demonstration held by Congress against the Centre, said the only hope was the judiciary.

"The vindictive action has incensed the common man," he claimed, adding that the courts would render justice and the BJP-led government would be exposed for targeting "an honest gentleman."

(PTI)

5.05 PM: "The allegation of $5 million or $450 thousand was never put to me," P Chidambaram had said at the court.

5.02 PM: CBI Court reserves its order on an application of CBI seeking five day remand of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in INX media case. The order will be announced in 30 minutes.

5.01 PM: P Chidambaram in court: "Please look at the questions and answers, there are no questions which I have not answered, please read the transcript. They asked if I have bank account abroad, I said no. They asked if my son has an account abroad, I said yes."

4.59 PM: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta arguing for CBI says, "Right to interrogate is my duty, duty to the nation under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC ). We are merely seeking court's permission to interrogate the accused further."- ANI

4.58 PM: "Not extorting confession, only want to reach the root of the case,"says SG Mehta.

4.55 PM: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta in court: "Chidambaram has tremendous potential of not cooperating in probe since he is highly intelligent. There is a reasonable ground for Chidambaram's custody as he was evasive in his replies. We are not extorting confession but we have the right to reach to the root of the case." 

4.50 PM: Solicitor General begins arguments again.

4.48 PM: Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that Chidambaram should be allowed to speak. After SG Tushar Mehta's objection, the court gestured Chidambaram to not speak.

4.47 PM: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta objected to P Chidambaram speaking in court.

4.45 PM: P Chidambaram given permission to speak.

4.44 PM: "The only way to judge the gravity of the offence is to judge the length of the sentence. The entire scheme of CrPC is based on sentence up to seven years or beyond seven years. They call it mammoth, monumental offence. The sentence is less than 7 years," said Singhvi.

4.42 PM: "They talk about the gravity of the offence. Look at March 23, 2018 judgment of the Delhi HC. Look at the observation on FIPB clearance. The statements of six secretaries of the FIPB, one of whom, Subbarao later became RBI Governor. None of the officials disclosed any influence exerted by P Chidambaram. No evidence of any influence exerted. Statement of secretaries says that the history of the FEMA violations was not disclosed to the board. That's a civil penalty. Here we are talking about a criminal trial," said Abhishek Singhvi.

4.39 PM: "Investigation agencies must make out a strong case. Satisfy the court that withouT custody it would be impossible for a police agency to continue the investigation. Remand is discouraged in law. Allowed only in exceptional circumstances," said Abhishek Singhvi.

4.32 PM: Abhishek Manu Singhvi in court: "Non cooperation is if probe agency calls me five times and I don't go, non cooperation is not refusing to give the answer they like to hear. They called P Chidambaram once, and he went. Where is non cooperation?"

4.30 PM: Abhishek Manu Singhvi in court: "Why didn't CBI ask questions on payments?"

4.29 PM: "Those six persons - FIPB are the deciders. The ex-FM was only the approver. None of the six persons has been arrested. Whether they are not in public life or are blue-eyed boys-- they are not arrested. But the person who had only approved is arrested," Singhvi said.

4.25 PM: Abhishek Manu Singhvi in court: "CBI's entire case is based on Indrani Mukherjea's evidence and a case diary."

4.21 PM: Kapil Sibal in court: "If a judge has taken seven months to deliver the judgement (Delhi HC judgment rejecting anticipatory bail of Chidambaram), then is that the protected umbrella Chidambaram got? We are aggrieved." - ANI

4.19 PM: This is the case which has nothing to do with evidence but with something else: Kapil Sibal.

4.15 PM: CBI asked just 12 questions from Chidambaram: Sibal

Last night CBI said that they wanted to interrogate Chidambaram, they didn't start the interrogation till 12 noon and asked him only 12 questions. By now they should know what questions to ask. The questions had nothing to do with Chidambaram. - ANI

4.10 PM: Kapil Sibal in court

"The FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) approval is given by six government secretaries, no one has been arrested. This is a case of documentary evidence. He (Chidambaram) has never skipped interrogation."

4.08 PM:Kapil Sibal says CBI not ready withquestions; says the agency asked him only 12 questions.

4.02 PM: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta tells the court Chidambaram's custodial interrogation is necessary to unearth larger conspiracy in the INX Media case.

3.57 PM: Kapil Sibal speaking in court

Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, arguing for P Chidambaram, says the accused in this case is Karti Chidambaram who was granted regular bail by the Delhi High Court in March 2018, challenges in the Supreme Court not interfered. Other accused also got bail. Peter and Indrani Mukerjea on default bail. --ANI

3.52 PM: Chidambaram is non-cooperative: Solicitor General

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta arguing for CBI in Court says "this is a classic case of money laundering. We are at the pre chargesheet stage, material with him, he remained non cooperative".

3.46 PM: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta tells the court "right to silence is constitutional right and I have no issue, but he is non cooperative, he was evasive to questioning". 

3.44 PM: $5 mn, $45,000 paid to companies linked to Karti Chidambaram: Solicitor General

Solicitor General tells the CBI court that $5 million and $45,000 were paid to companies linked to Karti Chidambaram.

3.43 PM: The CBI counsel says on the application of the CBI, a non-bailable warrant was also issued and the arrest was made on that basis.

3.38 PM: The CBI is seeking a five-day custody of former finance minister Chidambaram in the INX Media case.

3.37 PM: Chidambaram discusses courtroom size with CBI officials

Chidambaram was heard discussing the size of the courtroom with the CBI officials, reported India Today. Chidambaram also asked if all courtrooms were of this size.

3.28 PM: The hearing begins in the INX media case at the CBI special court.

3.27 PM: Chidambaram smiled at media on his way to the CBI court. He also waived towards the mediapersons.

3.22 PM: P Chidambaram brought to CBI court for hearing in INX Media Case. He will be produced in court shortly.

3.14 PM: Over 100 police personnel have been deployed outside the CBI court in wake of Chidambaram's hearing.

3.08 PM: Senior advocate Dayan Krishnan has also reached the CBI special court.

3.04 PM: Karti Chidambaram and Nalini Chidambaram have also arrived at the CBI court.

3.03 PM: Lawyers Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi arrive at CBI Court for P Chidambaram's bail hearing in INX media case.

3.02 pm: CBI Prosecutor Padmini Singh present in the CBI courtroom.

3.00 pm: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta will appear for CBI in the hearing on the INX Media case.

2.56 pm: Security beefed up outside CBI office ahead of Chidambaram hearing

Heavy security outside Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) office from where P Chidambaram will be taken to court for hearing; water cannons also deployed outside the office.

2.50 pm: ED probe officer in INX Media case transferred back to Delhi police

Rakesh Ahuja, the Investigating Officer (IO) in the INX Media case has been transferred back to Delhi Police. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has clarified that Ahuja's term in ED was over 3 weeks back, ANI reported.

2.41 pm: The way matter has been handled is very depressing, says West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee

"Sometimes the process in incorrect, I'm not talking about legality, but Chidambaram is a senior politician, he is a former finance minister & home minister. The way his matter has been handled, that is very depressing, that's very bad,& sad as well," said West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee.

2.33 pm: Congress workers protest over Chidambaram's arrest

Congress workers in West Bengal staged road blockades and organised rallies in various parts of the state on Thursday to protest against the arrest of former Union finance minister and party's senior leader P Chidambaram. Youth Congress activists, carrying posters and placards, were seen raising slogans against the BJP-led central government in Kolkata and several other districts, including North 24 Paraganas, South 24 Paraganas, Malda, Murshidabad and Birbhum. The protesters claimed that the Centre was pursuing "vendetta politics" against Congress leaders. -- PTI

2.30 PM: Matter of shame: DMK chief MK Stalin

"I too saw how CBI jumped the wall and arrested him. It's a matter of shame for India," DMK chief MK Stalin.

2.07 PM: Questioning over

The CBI is seeking legal consultation to finalise the remand application and court procedures, reports India Today. The remand could be sought on the ground of non-cooperation, enormity of evidences and paucity of time, and lesser time given for questioning today.

2.02 pm: What happened last night?

  • As per India Today sources, Chidambaram did not speak with CBI officials after his arrest on Thursday
  • Doctors later asked him few questions like if he was suffering from any ailments or was he on medication?
  • During CBI officers' questioning, his answers were reportedly short
  • He was left in lock-up number 5, which was guarded by two CBI officials.

1.20 pm: P Chidambaram's replies to CBI questions evasive

Former finance minister P. Chidambaram who was quizzed by the CBI for 2:30 hours Thursday remained non-cooperative with the agency officials and was evasive in his replies as well, according to sources. The probe agency officials have said that it could be one of the grounds on which they can seek his custody. The former finance minister maintained that when he joined the investigation in 2018, he was called as a witness. He also denied pressuring the FIPB officials adding that he did not interfere in his son Karti's business. Chidambaram refused to recall any meeting with Indrani and Peter Mukerjea in March/April.

12.50 pm: During his questioning, the Congress leader was reportedly grilled over Indrani Mukerjea's statement, who had alleged she and her husband met Chidambaram him in the north block and subsequently Karti Chidambaram in a five star hotel.

12.40 pm: Unanswered question

Was Chidambaram as finance minister awarethat FIPB only gave approval of Rs 4.61 crore FDI to INX media but it managedto illegally bring Rs 335 crore? Read more: What are the charges against P Chidambaram and son Karti

12.38 pm: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) is leading an all-party demonstration at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi demanding the "release of leaders detained in Jammu & Kashmir". Congress leaders Karti Chidambaram and Ghulam Nabi Azad, RJD leader Manoj Jha, and others are also present at the protest.

12.32 pm: Karti Chidambaram Thursday said that he will join DMK protest against abrogation of Article 370 at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. "I will go to Jantar Mantar for protest. The protest there is about Article 370 but if the alliance partners raise this issue (of P Chidambaram's arrest), of course, we will raise the issue as well. Our whole party, alliance partners and DMK leader MK Stalin have condemned the arrests yesterday," he told reporters at the Delhi airport.

12.20 pm: "Law will take its own course, the court takes decisions as per law,the party,the govt has no role in it. It's the court, not government that decides where to put the people who indulge in corruption," said Union Minister of State for Home,G Kishan Reddy on P Chidambaram arrested by CBI.

11.30 am: 15 youth and leaders of Chennai district unit of Tamil Nadu Congress have begun protesting outside the party office.

11.20 am: Senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid on Thursday said that former finance minister P. Chidambaram's arrest in INX Media case is "deeply distressing" adding that "we are very confident there is no case against him." "It's deeply distressing that all that happened (arrest). The matter is listed for hearing on Friday. They could have waited until then to see what the Supreme Court wants to do. We are very confident that there is no case against Chidambaram," Khurshid told ANI.

11.18 am: "There are people who are accused of many offences and are roaming free. Those who have FIPB approval are not being touched. And someone who has worked for the nation for 40 years is being projected as running away from the law," said Congress leader Randeep Surjewala.

11.15 am: Congress leader Randeep Surjewala Thursday said that the party is with P. Chidambaram and is sure of his innocence in INX Media case.

11.05 am: "The protest in Jantar Mantar is about Article370. Our whole party, alliance parties, the leader of DMK raised this issue (P Chidambaram's arrest) as well, Mr. MK Stalin condemned it yesterday," said Karti Chidambaram in Delhi.

10. 40 am: Matter of great concern to us as legal fraternity members: Kapil Sibal

"It's a matter of great concern to us as members of legal fraternity, also it should be a matter of concern as citizens. All we wanted was a hearing, the presiding judge chose instead to say that I am sending the file to CJI. Isn't a citizen entitled to be heard?" said Kapil Sibal. -- ANI

10.35 am: Never met Peter and Indrani Mukerjea in my life, says Karti Chidambaram.

"I've never met Peter Mukerjea, I've never met Indrani Mukerjea in my life. The only time I've seen Indrani was when CBI took me to confront her. I have had no interaction with anyone directly or indirectly connected with their company," said Karti Chidambaram in New Delhi. -- ANI

10.30 am: "This is not merely targeting of my father but the targeting of Congress party. I will go to Jantar Mantar to protest," said Karti Chidambaram in Delhi on P Chidambaram arrested by CBI.

10.28 am: No legal basis of arrest of P. Chidambaram, says son Karti in New Delhi

Former finance P. Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram Thursday told reporters outside the Delhi airport that there was no legal ground for arresting his father and also said that the former finance minister never evaded any summons.

10.23 am: CBI to start quizzing Chidambaram at 10 am

The CBI will begin questioning P Chidambaram at 10 am. Chidambaram will be confronted with FIPB files, reports IndiaToday.In. The period under question is March - May 2007.

Chidambaram will be also quizzed with Indrani Mukerjea's statement. Mukerjea had said that after FIPB rejected INX media request to bring the FDI, the couple (Indrani and Peter) met him in the north block and subsequently Karti Chidambaram in a five star hotel.

10.15am: Former finance minister P. Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram arrived at Delhi airport from Chennai.

9.45 AM: Chidambaran should not have behaved like this: Satya Pal Singh

9.25 AM: It's deeply distressing, says Salman Khurshid

"It's deeply distressing that all that had to happen, there was no question of not being answerable to the law. The matter is listed on Friday, they could have waited till then to see what the Supreme Court wants to do," says Khurshid.

9.10 AM: Karti terms Chidambaram's arrest witch-hunt, voyeurism

Congress MP Karti Chidambaram says the entire drama is being done to divert attention from real issues. "This whole thing is only being done for playing tricks and for voyeurism, and for the pleasure of a few and to divert the attention of the people of India from the serious issues. This is a completely trumped up, made for television, made for a media kind of spectacle." - IANS

8.56 AM: All being done to divert attention from Article 370: Karti

Karti Chidambaram says it (arrest of P Chidambaram by CBI) is being done just to divert attention from the issue of Article 370.

8.45 AM: Karti Chidambaram, son of P Chidambaram leaves from Chennai Airport to meet his father who was arrested by the CBI on Thursday.

8.30 AM: This has been done only to create a spectacle on TV, says Karti

"This has been done only to create a spectacle on TV & to tarnish the image of Congress party& the former Finance&Home Minister. This is completely trumped-up case in which he has absolutely no connection. We will fight this out politically & legally," says Karti.

8.00 AM: Karti Chidambaram on P Chidambaram arrested by CBI, in Chennai

"This is a totally vindictive and malicious act, done by a pliant agency. This is only done to settle political scores. There was absolutely no necessity to have done this," says the MP.

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