Former union minister P Chidambaram

A special court in Delhi on Monday extended the custody of former union minister P Chidambaram to an additional four days, i.e., till August 30 in connection with the INX Media case.

The Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar asserted that the agency’s demand for further custodial interrogation was “justified”, adding that “investigation is the prerogative of the investigating officer”.

During the detention, the former Finance Minister will be allowed to meet family members and lawyers for half-an-hour.

Last week on August 22, the CBI court had remanded Chidambaram to the custody of the agency till August 26, citing that the allegations against him were “serious in nature” and that a detailed investigation was needed.

During the present trial, the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor General KN Natarajan, representing CBI, argued that the interrogation was not complete as Chidambaram had to be confronted with his co-accused in the case to “unearth a larger conspiracy”. The prosecutors also submitted a file before the court, containing email communications between the accused persons to demand five more days of Chidambaram’s custody.

Mehta also said that “certain documents and evidence have emerged” that needed further probing.

Further, the prosecutors said that the ED had filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court in the money laundering case and also shared certain evidence with the CBI, which raise the need for further interrogation.

While, senior advocate and former union minister Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, said the documents submitted in the top court had no relevance to the current case.

Sibal argued that CBI had no details of 5 million dollars being involved in the case and that even after “26 hours of questioning”, nothing has been asked on all these issues.

Meanwhile, earlier today, in a setback for Chidambaram, the Supreme Court quashed his plea challenging Delhi High Court’s dismissal of his anticipatory bail petition in the case lodged by CBI.

The apex court contended that Chidambaram having been arrested and already in CBI custody, his plea had become “infructuous”. The bench, however, said that the former finance minister Chidambaram had the liberty to seek remedy in accordance with the law.

As for the bail plea against the INX Media money laundering case lodged by the ED, the Supreme Court extended his protection from arrest till Tuesday. The top court will resume hearing tomorrow.

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