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A special CBI court on Thursday granted judicial custody of former finance minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media case to Enforcement Directorate (ED) till Oct 24. The ED had arrested him yesterday after interrogation for sometime in Tihar jail on Wednesday where he has been lodged since September 5.

Chidambaram was produced in Rouse Avenue Court before the Special CBI Judge where the ED  was to move an application for his remand. The judicial custody of Chidambaram is also getting over today in CBI matter.

At the outset, Solicitor general Tushar Mehta sought the extension of judicial custody for 14 days. The judge allowed but to the absence of counsel of Chidambaram, he said he will decide the ED application in a while and then tell the exact number of days of custody that has been allowed.  Mehta said his interrogation under the PMLA yesterday in Tihar jail related to relevant sections of the money laundering act.

“The prayer is not on mechanical ground. We have the material collected with CBI investigation. Now, the ED will show the documents showing money laundering.

For further investigation, we need custodial interrogation”, he said and added that more statements need to be recorded through custodial interrogation before coming before  the court.

Counsel for Chidambaram senior advocate Kapil Sibal questioned the need for urgent custody by saying “On 5th September 2019, they wanted my custodial interrogation and when we surrender, they denied. They should explain this”. He also questioned the nature of the incriminating evidence found since 5 September. “Let the Judicial custody be first get over and the application be decided in the Supreme Court. Then, let them come for custodial arrest,” Sibal said.

At this Mehta said that the submission for grant of custodial interrogation is being made now  because earlier they did not have much evidence. “We have examined last witness on 9th October 2019. Now, we have been prompt in approach and investigation.”

Chidambaram has been in the CBI judicial custody since August 21. The agency had filed a case against him in May 2017, following which the ED filed a money laundering case against him.

—India Legal Bureau

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