Big set back for Chidambaram, CBI granted custody till August 26

New Delhi, Aug 22: Congress leader P Chidambaram was on Thursday sent to CBI custody till August 26 by a Delhi court which said his custodial interrogation was justified in the INX Media corruption case.

"Allegations against Chidambaram are serious in nature and in-depth investigation is required," the court said as it rejected the arguments of the Congress leader's lawyers.

"Considering the facts and circumstances, I am of the view that police custody is justified," special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar said after listening to the arguments of both sides. 

"Trail of money, if so paid, is to be ascertained. It is a case based on documentary evidence and those documents need to be traced," the court said.

Live updates here:

-Major point in court judgements in Chidambaram case:

 -CBI granted custody till August 26-

-Chidambaram's family allow to meet him for 30 minutes everyday.

 -Medical examination to be conducted every 48 hours.  

- Considering all facts and circumstances I am of view that police custody of Chidambaram is justified, the judge said.

- "We are merely seeking court’s permission to interrogate the accused further. It’s a serious case involving intelligent people," said Solicitor General Tushar Mehta arguing for CBI.

- P Chidambaram said, "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." 

- The court said the judgement will be pronounced after 30 minutes.

- During the court hearing, the prosecution said the investigation has revealed that a payment of $5 million US was made by INX Media case co-accused Indrani Mukherjea. But interestingly, Chidambaram denied being asked this question by CBI. 

- The prosecution argued that when he was shown the said document, Chidambaram remained silent and evasive, and stressed on the need to confront him further with more documents. 

P.  Chidambaram

Earlier, Chidambaram was whisked away from the CBI headquarters here on Thursday, hoodwinking a mob and the media gathered at the main entrance.

At around 3 p.m., the senior Congress leader was accompanied by a team of police officers and probe agency officials escorted by Delhi Police vehicles.

He was detained at the building for nearly 17 hours for questioning.

Chidambaram was to be produced before Special Judge Anil Kumar Kuhad at the Rouse Avenue Court.

The main entry gate of the CBI headquarters was barricaded, with a dozen paramilitary personnel flanking it on either side. This was at least since half an hour before Chidambaram was stealthily taken out of the building using a rear entrance.

Chidambaram had been arrested by the CBI on Wednesday for his complicity in the INX Media case. He was brought to the CBI headquarters near Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at 10 p.m.

The former Union Minister reportedly spent the night in a suite on the ground floor of the CBI building.

According to sources, Chidambaram's questioning re-commenced from on Thursday morning. However, his replies to the queries were mostly ambiguous.

At around midnight on Wednesday, a team of top CBI officials had begun questioning Chidambaram. Sources said CBI director Rishi Kumar Shukla was himself present in the headquarters during the questioning.

As per sources, the investigating agency will demand Chidambaram's remand of seven days in order to question him further.

Earlier during the day, Delhi Police had barricaded both roads leading to the new CBI building and prohibited public thoroughfare in the area. The area has been virtually transformed into a fortress with scores of policemen deputed to ward off any untoward incident or breakdown of law and order machinery.

Entry to the road was thoroughly monitered -- allowed only for staff and vehicles with government stickers. Passage towards the building was allowed only in a queue using the road near the Scope Complex turnaround.

News24 Bureau with IANS inputs

Photo: Google Image