A special CBI court has ordered former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram to remain in CBI custody till August 26 in connection with the INX Media case. His family and lawyers have been permitted to visit him for 30 minutes every day. The court has also asked the investigating agency to ensure that the personal dignity of the Congress leader is not violated.
Following the order, his son Karti Chidambaram said, "I have gone through this myself. This is what we expected. We will see what happens in the Supreme Court on Friday."
During the hearing, senior lawyers Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared on behalf of P Chidambaram at the court, while Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared for the CBI.
Sibal argued that there is no basis for the remand sought by CBI. He had argued that CBI was not even ready with the questions and had managed to ask only twelve. Sibal added that the FIPB approval was given by six government secretaries, out of whom none have been arrested. Singhvi, additionally argued that the entire case put forward by CBI is based on Indrani Mukherjea's evidence and case diary. He also said that Chidambaram has been co-operative during the probe.
P Chidambaram who had spoken during the hearing said that he has been fully co-operative. "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," he said.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who appeared on behalf of the CBI said that Chidambaram has been 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. He further added that it is his right and duty to question P Chidambaram and that the agency is merely seeking the special court's permission to interrogate the accused further.
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."
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister and INC leader Bhupesh Baghel said, "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."