Delhi HC extends interim protection to Chidambaram

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NEW DELHI, JULY 03,
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday extended interim protection from arrest granted to former Union Minister P. Chidambaram in the INX Media case till August 1.
Justice A. K. Pathak directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probinf the case, not to take any coercive action against Mr. Chidambaram till August 1, the next date fixed for hearing.
The agency has sought time to submit its response on Mr Chidambaram’s anticipatory bail plea.
Mr Chidambaram was given a similar relief by the high court on May 31 in the case. The high court had, however, told Mr Chidambaram to cooperate in the investigation as and when called by CBI.
Mr. Chidambaram, in his plea, has said the present case was “mala fide and is borne out of political vendetta”. He alleged that the investigating agency is acting at the behest of the central government, which wants to malign his “untainted and unimpeachable reputation.”
In the INX Media case, the CBI had registered an FIR on May 15 last year against alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when Mr Chidambaram was finance minister.
The CBI had in February arrested Mr Karti Chidambaram at Chennai airport on allegations that he had demanded and accepted $1 million for scuttling a possible probe against INX Media for violation of FIPB conditions in 2007. Mr Karti was released on bail.
CBI seeks custodial interrogation
CBI pressed for Mr. Chidambaram’s custodial interrogation, alleging it was necessary as he has remained evasive and non-cooperative during questioning. The probe agency made the submission in an affidavit filed before Justice Pathak.
The CBI, represented by Additional Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, said in its affidavit that despite there being “cogent and convincing material on record” based on which questions were put to the former union minister, he “chose to remain evasive and did not cooperate with the investigating agency“.
“The material collected so far and the intensity and the gravity of the offence which is unfolding, requires custodial interrogation of the petitioner (Mr. Chidambaram) which is quantitatively different. The investigating agency has reached bona fide conclusion that in the absence of custodial interrogation, it will not be possible to reach the truth of the allegations as the petitioner has chosen to be evasive and non-cooperative,” the agency said while seeking dismissal of Mr. Chidambaram’s anticipatory bail plea.

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