Karti sent to 5-day CBI custody
New Delhi: Karti Chidambaram, arrested in the INX Media case, was on Thursday remanded to five days of CBI custody by a Delhi court.
Special Judge Sunil Rana extended Karti's custody till March 6 after the CBI contended that there were "very shocking evidences" of what he has done when he went abroad and alleging "when he went abroad, he closed bank accounts in which funds were received".
Karti was produced before the court on expiry of one-day CBI custody amidst the presence of his parents P Chidambaram and Nalini Chidambaram, both senior advocates, and were seen talking to him.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for CBI, maintained that this was "not a case of political vendetta" and the investigation was going on 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".
Even though Karti did not complain of any uneasiness during his regular medical check up yesterday, doctors at Safdarjung Hospital last night sent him to cardiac care unit and he was brought to CBI office only in the morning.
Due to his hospitalisation, the CBI's one-day custody was virtually wasted as it got Karti's custody only at 7:30 pm and he returned from the hospital this morning, he said.
Senior advocate Abhishek Mani Singhvi, who is leading a team of lawyers for Karti, contended that in connection with the May 2017 FIR, CBI has spent roughly 22 hours with Karti in August last year and no fresh summons was issued to him after August 2017 till date, 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, 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 didn t CBI file a contempt petition before the court which allowed him to travel abroad.
The CBI said that in May 2007, first FIPB approval was given to INX Media and in April 2008, this reference was made in the Finance Ministry.
From June 2008 onwards, the payment of the bribe money was started. The second FIPB approval was given on November 2, 2008. We are investigating whether the April 2008 reference was a "pressure technique", the CBI contended.
"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 May 15 last year alleging 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 P Chidambaram was the union finance minister.