INX Media Case: Court extends CBI custody of Karti Chidambaram by three days; next hearing on 9 March

Hours after the Supreme Court refused to grant Karti Chidambaram, the son of former Union minister P Chidambaram, interim protection from Enforcement Directorate's (ED) arrest in INX Media Case, Patiala House Court on Tuesday extended Karti's CBI custody by three days. The court will hold its next hearing on 9 March at 2 pm.

The CBI on Tuesday produced Karti before Delhi's Patiala House Court and sought an extension of his custody to quiz him in the INX Media corruption case saying "new revelations" have come up and his custodial interrogation was necessary to confront him with the "new facts".

The agency, which produced Karti on expiry of his five-day police custody before special judge Sunil Rana, said though there has been "substantial progress" in last four days into the investigation into the case, he has "not been cooperating" and not parting with his phones passwords and to every question he has been saying that "I am politically victimised".

Karti Chidambaram reacts before his supporters as he leaves Patiala House Courts after appearing in INX case, in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI

Karti Chidambaram reacts before his supporters as he leaves Patiala House Courts after appearing in INX case, in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, said Karti was taken to Mumbai and was confronted with Indrani Mukerjea, one of the then promoters of INX media at the Byculla prison and her statement has been just one of the evidence.

"New revelations in the matter have come up on Saturday. Cannot divulge much about the investigation but we need his further custody to confront him with the new facts," Mehta told the court and also opposed Karti's bail plea saying that the investigation was at a "crucial stage" and the CBI needs two weeks time to file detail reply to his bail application.

 The ASG alleged that witnesses in the case are being approached and evidence destroyed.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Karti, said the CBI just wants to keep him in custody by hook or crook. "I have cooperated. I am not obliged to answer what you (CBI) want to hear. My duty is only to make myself available for questioning," Singhvi submitted.

"The shifting of stands/reasons by the CBI to keep me in custody is a mala fide attempt on their part to get my custody," the senior advocate said and questioned "Is Indrani's statement even an admissible evidence? She is in jail in the murder case of her daughter."

He said Karti is not a terrorist with a bomb that he cannot be interrogated without being kept in custody. The court has concluded the hearing on the arguments on the CBI's plea seeking nine-day custodial interrogation of Karti.

Meanwhile, Indrani has reportedly claimed that Karti had demanded $1 million from her and that she paid him a part of this sum, at a hotel in New Delhi last year.

Earlier, on Tuesday, the Supreme had refused to grant Karti interim protection from ED arrest. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud sought a response from the ED on Karti's fresh plea seeking protection from arrest.

The CBI also told the apex court that it will seek an extension of Karti's custody before the trial court. The court posted the matter for further hearing on 8 March.

In his fresh writ petition, Karti has challenged the court summons on the ground that the ED has no jurisdiction to issue such notices based on the FIR lodged by the CBI.

The top court had on 23 February refused to stay the summons issued by the ED against Karti—who is presently in CBI custody in the INX Media money laundering case—after the CBI said he was "not a common criminal" and his plea for quashing the notice was "a guise for an anticipatory bail plea".

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Mar 06, 2018 22:00 PM

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