Hindustan Surkhiyan Desk: After being in custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), P Chidambaram will now be arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) tomorrow after a special court in Delhi allowed the custodial interrogation of the former Finance Minister in the INX Media money laundering case. Chidambaram is already in Tihar Jail since September 5 in the INX Media case filed by the CBI. According to reports, ED had moved two applications on October 14 to formally arrest Chidambaram and seek his custody.
The court reportedly gave two options to the investigative agency – to question Chidambaram at the court premises for 30 minutes and then move application for his custody or sending him to Tihar jail for now and then arresting him from there.
ED wanted to arrest Chidambaram as soon as possible and suggested that the former FM can be interrogated at the Rouse Avenue court premises and then arrested but the Judge intervened saying “dignity of the person should be considered”. After court’s directive, ED went for the second option. Chidambaram will arrested in the morning and he will be produced in court around 4 pm when the agency applies for his custody.
During the course of the hearing, Chidambaram’s legal team led by Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal opposed the application moved by the prosecution. “The ED can’t arrest him anymore because the crime is one and can’t be taken as two. It’s two sides of the same coin. As long as the transaction is same and the offences are diffrent, the prosecution cannot seek remand more than 15 days,” he said.
Sibal further contended that Section 267 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) cannot be used as a sheet anchor by the agency to arrest his client. Opposing the submissions of Sibal, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta contended: “My learned friend was citing the order of this Court passed when his client was willing to surrender before the court. Though nothing is pending before the court in the ED case, he is still in custody of the court and hence only because of this we are seeking permission to arrest under section 19 PMLA and this power is completely distinct from that in CrPC.”
The ED on Friday approached the court seeking custody of Chidambaram in the INX media case. The Solicitor General argued that Chidambaram needs to be taken in for custodial interrogation to obtain information on shell companies in foreign countries and 17 bank accounts.
He pointed out that even the Supreme Court had observed that custodial interrogation is required in this case. Following this, the court had issued a production warrant against the former Finance Minister.
Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram were named in the INX Media case by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, who are currently in jail in Mumbai in connection with the murder of Indrani’s daughter Sheena Bora. The ED too has filed a money laundering case against Chidambaram.