Friday, 14 December, 2018

INX media case: Karti Chidambaram moves Delhi High Court for bail

Karti Chidambaram in Tihar Jail till March 24 INX media case: Karti Chidambaram moves Delhi High Court for bail
Anna Jefferson | 12 March, 2018, 19:27

The Delhi High Court today dubbed as "mischievous" certain tweets by the editor of a Chennai-based Tamil language weekly news magazine in connection with its decision granting interim protection from arrest to Karti Chidambaram, son of senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, till March 20 in the INX Media money laundering case.

The court, dismissing Karti's plea for early hearing of his bail application, sent him to judicial custody until 24 March. The FIR alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds of about Rs 305 crore in 2007 when his father was Union finance minister. P Chidambaram was also present in the courtroom. The counsel also sought a separate cell in case Karti was sent to judicial custody.

CBI's counsel V.K. Sharma submitted that apprehension of accused is without any basis as accused has regularly been visiting overseas.

CBI counsel V K Sharma opposed the application for a separate cell and bathroom saying there was no threat to Karti.

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Citing example of biscuit baron Rajan Pillai's death in custody, Karti Chidambaram's counsel raised concerns that there is pre-planned conspiracy "to do something to his client while he is being lodged in jail". The special CBI court acknowledged that the accused is a son of a former union minister, however it said that his "social status" can not be the basis of providing him any special facility like a separate jail. "However, only keeping in view the fact of social status of the accused and his father, he can not be treated different from other accused persons and can not be allowed to be kept in a separate prison", said the special CBI judge. However, the judge directed Tihar Jail authorities to provide and ensure proper safety and security to Karti during the judicial custody. The court denied Karti's request for home food in the jail.

The interim relief from "any coercive action" taken by the ED came a day after the Supreme Court transferred to the Delhi High Court, his plea seeking quashing of summons issued by the probe agency. He has been in CBI custody for questioning since his arrest from Chennai Airport on February 28.

The CBI had initially alleged that Karti Chidambaram received Rs 10 lakh as bribe for the FIPB clearance. It, however, later revised the figure to Dollars 1 million (about Rs 6.50 crore at the current exchange rate and Rs 4.50 crore in 2007).

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