NEW DELHI :
A special court on Wednesday sent former finance minister P. Chidambaram to judicial custody till 13 November in the INX Media money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The ED had sought one more day for custodial interrogation, but judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar dismissed the plea saying that sufficient time was given to the investigating agency for interrogation. Chidambaram has been in ED custody since 16 October.
“No doubt the interrogation is the prerogative of the investigation officer, but at the same time, the provision of section 167 CrPC for 15 days’ police/ED custody is not a ritualistic formality which is to be completed in all the cases necessarily sans justification," the court said.
The judge also said that the accused can be questioned by investigators and confronted with evidences even in judicial custody. He also allowed Chidambaram to get home-cooked food in jail.
Earlier in the day, Chidambaram had moved the Delhi high court seeking interim bail on grounds of ill- health. The matter will be heard on Thursday. His regular bail application is scheduled to be heard on 4 November.
The veteran Congress leader’s arrest and subsequent time spent in both ED and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) custody and in Tihar jail, are also likely to become a political hot potato in both Houses of Parliament in the forthcoming winter session, with the Congress party likely to accuse the government of “political vendetta".
“This whole cycle of CBI, @dir_ed and Judicial Custody of my father @PChidambaram_IN is a farcical made for media drama. After 70 days, what do we have? No confrontation with any “witness" or undeclared global accts/properties," son Karti Chidambaram tweeted on Wednesday.
On 23 October, the Supreme Court set aside a Delhi high court order that granted bail to Chidambaram in the INX Media corruption case registered by the CBI.
On 15 May 2017, CBI had filed an FIR against Chidambaram for alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance provided to INX Media for receiving overseas funds of ₹305 crore in 2007.
Shashwati Das contributed to this story.