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INX media case: P Chidambaram’s CBI custody extended till Sep 2

By Simran Kashyap
|

New Delhi, Aug 30: Former Union minister P Chidambaram's CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) custody was extended till September 2 in connection with the INX Media case.

Chidambaram

The order was passed by special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar before whom Chidambaram was produced on expiry of his four-day custodial interrogation granted on 26 August.

"Investigation being the prerogative of the investigating officer and given the fact that the record is voluminous and accused needs to be confronted. Thus, more time is required. In view of the submissions made, the accused is sent to police custody remand till 2 September," said the judge.

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Additional solicitor general (ASG) K.M. Natraj had, however, sought a five-day CBI remand but Chidambaram's counsel Dayan Krishnan opposed it.

While the CBI succeeded in securing three more days of custodial interrogation of P Chidambaram in the INX Media corruption case, a Delhi court took strong objection to its seeking police custody in part manner and even said the ground for it was "vague".The judge got irked as the former finance minister was Friday produced for the third time since his arrest on August 21 and asked as to why the agency did not seek the entire 15-day of police custody when he was produced for the first time.

CBI had sought Chidambaram's 5-day custody on the first day of his production in the court and the similar request was made when he was brought for the second time on August 26, and so was the case today when another 5-day extension was sought, the court noted.

According to the law, the maximum period of police custody in the corruption cases like the one in which Chidambaram is booked is 15 days.

During the proceedings, the judge asked the CBI as to why it required five more days for interrogating Chidambaram and sought case diary from the agency.

When the Additional Solicitor General K M Natraj said there are voluminous documents and Chidambaram needs to be confronted with them, the judge said the CBI should have asked for custodial interrogation of Chidambaram for 14 days on the very first day of his production if that was the case.

The court, however, extended Chidambaram's custody till Monday after his counsel informed the court about an agreement between the accused and the CBI before the SC, by which Chidambaram's counsel had agreed for the extension of his custody till September 2, when the apex court will again hear the INX Media matter.

On Thursday, order on P Chidambaram's pre-arrest bail petition was reserved by the Supreme Court until September 5. The top court extended the former finance minister's interim protection from arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) until then.

The former finance minister also offered in the Supreme Court to remain in CBI's custody till September 2. He made the offer after a bench of Justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna said after it fixed Monday, September 2, to hear the appeal of Chidambaram challenging the orders passed by the trial court remanding him in the CBI custody in the corruption case.

The CBI arrested Chidambaram on August 22, hours after he failed to secure an urgent Supreme Court hearing of his two appeals - one in the CBI case and the other in the ED case. His appeal in the CBI case was later declared infructuous because of his arrest by the agency and the subsequent custodial remand granted by a special CBI court. Chidambaram's custody in the CBI case ended today.

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