Karti Chidambaram will be produced back in the special CBI court after his one day remand gets over Thursday afternoon. It is learnt that CBI will press for further remand to question him in detail. Karti, son of former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, was arrested by the CBI in alleged money laundering case yesterday from Chennai soon after he landed from UK.
Facing allegations of vendetta by the Congress party, the CBI justified Karti Chidambaram’s arrest in the INX Media case claiming his non-cooperation and frequent foreign visits.
Seeking a 15-day custody, the CBI prosecutors contended before duty magistrate Sumeet Anand that Karti had not cooperated in the investigation and he had been repeatedly travelling abroad, which “confirmed the apprehensions of his tampering with the evidence lying abroad against him and others in the form of secret note received from the Ministry of Finance”.
CBI prosecutors VK Sharma and Padmini Singh argued that one of the grounds for arresting Karti was that the agency had recorded the statement of Indrani Mukerjea, former director of INX Media (P) Ltd, before a magistrate on February 17, in which she had said an amount of USD 1 million was paid to Karti on behalf of INX Media at the Hyatt hotel in Delhi.
Opposing the CBI’s arguments, Karti’s advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi said it was a “bizarre” case and that no grounds for arrest were made out.
“It is a bizarre case at the threshhold. It is not a case of arrest, leave aside police custody or judicial custody,” Singhvi told the court while opposing the CBI’s remand plea. He also argued that Karti was summoned twice by the CBI on August 23 and 28 last year and that he was interrogated for 22 hours by the agency, during which he answered all the questions.
“After those two days, I have not received any single summons from the CBI. It is a 180-day silence and then they say, I am not cooperating. The fact is that they do not have anything to ask me now,” Singhvi said.
He told the court that Karti appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a case filed on similar allegations by the agency as late as 10 days back and that he was not a repeat offender.
The CBI prosecutors rebutted, saying Singhvi’s arguments were false and that Karti had joined the probe only after the Supreme Court’s intervention.
They said all the procedures were followed and Karti was informed about the grounds of his arrest. They further argued that Karti had not complied with the Madras High Court’s direction to give the itinerary of his stay abroad.
Regarding the defence counsel’s argument that the CBI had not filed a status report in any court, claiming that Karti had not cooperated, the prosecutor said the agency was never directed by any court to file any such report.
(With inputs from PTI)