New DelhiA Delhi court on Thursday remanded Karti Chidambaram to a five-day CBI custody in the INX Media bribery case. The Central Bureau of Investigation had sought 14 days.
The court allowed Kartis advocates to meet him for one hour each in the morning and evening during CBI custody. He has been also allowed to carry medicines on prescription, but no home food.
On Thursday, Karti was produced before special judge Sunil Rana on the expiry of one-day police custody. Former finance minister and Kartis father P. Chidambaram and mother Nalini Chidambaram, who are both senior advocates, were present in court and seen talking to him.
Additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), said this is not a case of political vendetta and the investigation is in accordance with Article 21 of the Constitution.
There are very shocking evidences of what Karti did when he went abroad, he said, adding that when he went abroad, he closed bank accounts in which funds were received.
Mehta also said that Karti did not complain of any uneasiness during the medical check up yesterday, but doctors at the Safdarjung hospital had last night sent him to the cardiac care unit. He was brought to CBI office only this morning.
Senior advocate Abhishek Mani Singhvi, who is leading a team of lawyers for Karti, contended that in connection with the May 2017 FIR, the CBI has spent roughly 22 hours with Karti in August last year and no fresh summons were issued to him after August 2017 till today which shows the agency has nothing more to ask him.
The only way of establishing non-cooperation is to issue summons. You never tested my non-cooperation. Sudden arrest after six months. Its bizarre that I am arrested as I stepped out of plane. There is not an iota of evidence against Karti. He is being arrested despite complying with court orders repeatedly. he said.
Singhvi asked if Karti has done something illegal while being abroad, why didnt the CBI file a contempt petition before the court which allowed him to travel abroad. The CBI has said that in May 2007, first Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval was given to INX Media and in April 2008, this reference was made in the finance ministry.
From June 2008 onwards, the bribe money was started being paid. The second FIPB approval was given on 2 November 2008. We are investigating whether the April 2008 reference was a pressure technique, the CBI said.
We have emails and invoices indicating money was given to Advantage Strategic Consultancy Private Limited (ASCPL), which is related to Karti, around the time period when INX Media received favours. There is substantial evidence with the agency which needs to be confronted with Karti. Three mobile phones have been recovered from him which need to be examined. 14 days is the minimum time required to keep him in custody, Mehta contended.
Karti was arrested yesterday at Chennai Airport on his return from the United Kingdom in connection with the FIR lodged on 15 May last year alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs305 crore in 2007 when P. Chidambaram was the union finance minister.
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