P Chidambaram was produced in court by the CBI for third time since his arrest.
A special court in Delhi on Friday took exception to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) producing former union minister P Chidambaram for the third time since his arrest in the INX Media case and called its arguments asking for his custody to be extended “vague”.
The court also expressed its displeasure at Mr Chidambaram’s request in the Supreme Court to be kept in CBI custody till Monday and the endorsement of the offer by the agency. “Then you both discuss and decide how much custody is required. What is the use of this court?” the judge said.
Mr Chidambaram, 73, has been accused of facilitating a huge infusion of foreign funds into the media company INX Media in 2007, when he was Finance Minister, at the instance of his son Karti Chidambaram, who allegedly received kickbacks for his role. Karti Chidambaram — also named in the case — is out on bail. P Chidambaram was arrested amid high drama from his home last week by CBI officials who scaled the walls of his house to get in. Since then, he has been in the agency’s custody.
On Friday, the judge asked the investigating agency why it had not sought the entire 15-day police custody when he was produced for the first time.
The CBI had sought Mr Chidambaram’s 5-day custody on his first court appearance. It repeated the request when he was brought for the second time on Monday and once again on Friday.
According to the law, the maximum period of police custody in corruption cases like the one in which Mr Chidambaram is accused is 15 days.
Thought it eventually granted the CBI’s request for five more days of custody, the judge asked the agency to explain why and sought the case diary.
“You (CBI) were aware about the volume of documents. Why did you ask for only five days custody for the first time? Second time also you asked for five days only. Why this approach?” the court said.
Additional Solicitor General K M Natraj, representing the CBI, said Mr Chidambaram was being “evasive” and “non-cooperative”. The former union minister said countered this, saying he had been questioned by the agency for 55 hours and has been asked some 400 questions.
After going through the case diary, the judge said, “The ground you (CBI) have taken for further custodial interrogation is very vague”.
(With inputs from PTI)
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