INX Media case: P Chidambaram sent to Tihar jail till September 19

INX Media Case: P Chidambaram has been sent to Tihar jail till September 19, 2019. The order was given by Rouse Avenue Court in Delhi where the CBI's case against the former Finance Minister in relation to INX Media corruption case was being heard. 

Following the ruling, P Chidambaram filed an application before the Delhi court seeking the following directions for the jail authorities:

- To ensure safe detention while in judicial custody. 

- To provide him with adequate security.

- To provide separate cell with adequate security.

The Delhi Court allowed the application of the senior Congress leader to provide him a separate cell with adequate security.

Chidambaram's lawyers also moved an application in the court stating that Chidambaram wanted to surrender in the ED case. In response, the court issued a notice to ED and sought its reply. The hearing on Chidambaram's surrender application will be held on September 12. Chidambaram will remain in judicial custody in CBI till September 19. 

SC rejects Chidambaram's anticipatory bail plea in ED case

The Supreme Court has rejected P Chidambaram's anticipatory bail plea in the INX Media case filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).  The judgement comes as a huge setback for the former Finance Minister.

The Supreme Court bench headed by Justice R Banumathi and comprising Justice AS Bopanna, dismissed  Chidambaram's plea for protection from arrest and agreed with the plea of ED that Chidambaram should be sent for custodial interrogation. The ruling came on Chidambaram's petition, which he had filed against the Delhi high court order rejecting his anticipatory bail on August 20.

The top court, however, continues to hear Chidambaram's petition against the CBI custody order given on August 22. The Supreme Court had earlier asked Chidambaram to approach the concerned court for interim protection. The top Court had also asked the CBI to file its response on Chidambaram's plea challenging the non-bailable warrant issued against him and the arrest order by the trial court.  

Chidambaram's CBI custody was extended till September 5, 2019. The SC bench had also extended the interim protection granted to Chidambaram from arrest in ED case  till September 5. 

SC rejects Chidambaram's plea challenging Delhi HC order denying him anticipatory bail in CBI case

The Supreme Court had earlier dismissed P Chidambaram's plea challenging the Delhi High Court's order denying him anticipatory bail, calling it "invalid". The apex court bench headed by Justice R Banumathi refused to hear Chidambaram's plea against his arrest by the CBI and said that "as far as the CBI is concerned, it (the plea) has been rendered infructuous." The Supreme Court further stated that the former finance Minister is at the liberty to move regular bail before the concerned court, which will decide it without getting influenced by any observation of any other court.

SC grants anticipatory bail to Chidambaram in ED case

On August 23, the Supreme Court had granted anticipatory bail to P Chidambaram in the ED case till August 26, 2019.  The former Union Minister, however, continued to remain in CBI custody as the top court did not give any relief in the CBI case.

P Chidambaram CBI custody

P Chidambaram  was sent to CBI custody till August 26 by a special anti-corruption court in Delhi on August 22, 2019.  Prior to this, the former Union Minister and senior Congress leader was questioned by the CBI for almost four hours in relation to the INX Media corruption case. The CBI officials questioned P Chidambaram  on the process of granting the clearances and his alleged meetings with INX Media Director Indrani Mukherjea and companies Chess Management and Advantage Strategic. Chidambaram is being held at the CBI Headquarters.

P Chidambaram's arrest

The 73-year-old former Union Minister was arrested from his Jor Bagh residence in New Delhi by the CBI and ED officials in a high-drama event on August 21, 2019. Though the CBI officials were initially denied entry into Chidambaram 's house, they climbed over the walls to initiate the arrest. 

Chidambaram's arrest unfolded in a 55-minute drama, after the Delhi High Court rejected Chidambaram’s bail plea in the INX Media case. Before his arrest, Chidambaram, who had been untraceable for almost 27 hours since Monday afternoon, appeared briefly at the AICC headquarters to address the media on the charges leveled against him.

Chidambaram in his brief media address strongly defended himself, saying that no chargesheet was filed in the case and no FIR was filed against him in the INX Media case. Though CBI officials arrived at the AICC headquarters to arrest him,  Chidambaram had left the venue by then.

When the news broke that the senior Congress leader had returned to his house, a team of CBI immediately reached there but they were denied entry into the house, prompting them to climb over the walls of the property on Wednesday. The theatrics continued for about 55 minutes, after which Chidambaram was escorted out in a CBI vehicle by the CBI officers to the CBI headquarters for questioning in relation to the INX Media case.

INX Media case: Why did the CBI arrest former Finance Minister P Chidambaram?

The CBI and ED officials arrested former Finance Minister P Chidambaram to interrogate him regarding the INX Media corruption case. 

INX Media corruption case: What is it?

The INX Media corruption case relates to the irregularities in the FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) to the INX Media group for getting overseas funds worth around Rs 305 crore in 2007. This was the time when P Chidambaram was the finance minister under the UPA-I government.

INX Media case: All you need to know

The Enforcement Directorate had filed an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) against P Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram in May 2017, INX Media and its directors, Peter and Indrani Mukerjea under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The CBI also subsequently filed an FIR against Karti Chidambaram and INX Media alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to INX Media in 2007 for receiving overseas funds worth Rs 305 crore.

P Chidambaram had told the Supreme Court in October 2017 that the BJP-led central government was carrying out a "politically-motivated vendetta" against him and his son Karti Chidambaram.

The Enforcement Directorate then lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2018 and the CBI summoned Chidambaram for questioning.

P Chidambaram sought anticipatory bail in the corruption case from the Delhi High Court in May 30, 2018. The Minister also sought anticipatory bail from Delhi HC in the money laundering case registered by the ED in July 2018. 

The Delhi High Court granted the senior Congress leader interim protection from arrest in both the cases in July 2018. Further, the ED in October 2018 attached Karti Chidambaram's assets worth Rs 54 crore in India, the UK and Spain, in connection with the INX Media money laundering case.

In January 2019, the Delhi High Court reserved its judgement on P Chidambaram's anticipatory bail plea in both the cases.

The Enforcement Directorate asked Karti Chidambaram to vacate his Jor Bagh residence in New Delhi on August 1 and 19 days later, on August 20, 2019, the Delhi High Court dismissed Chidambaram's bail pleas, observing that he appeared to be the "kingpin" in the money laundering case. The High Court also declined Chidambaram's request to stay the order for three days to enable him to move an appeal in the SC till then. 

The Supreme Court also declined Chidambaram's plea for urgent hearing on the matter on August 21 and listed the matter for hearing on Friday. 

INX Media case: How is P Chidambaram involved in the case?

P Chidambaram is suspected to have played a leading role in getting clearance from the FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) the second time round after the FIPB had rejected the application in the first round. 

The FIPB had approved Rs 4.62 crore worth of foreign investment into INX Media but it did not approve the proposal of INX Media's downstream 26 per cent investment into INX News. However, INX Media not only received Rs 305.36 crore in violation of FIPB rules, it also invested in 26 per cent equity in INX News without FIPB approval.

The other allegations include that of bribery against Karti Chidambaram, who reportedly demanded $1 million in foreign accounts when Peter and Indrani Mukerje approached him to get approvals. 

The CBI and ED would also like to enquire whether Chidambaram influenced any finance ministry officials to approve INX News application the second time. Three members who were in the Department of Economic Affairs when Chidambaram was the finance minister, Sindhushree Khullar, Anup K Pujari, Prabodh Saxena, have been accused of corruption in the INX Media case. 

P Chidambaram arrest: How it happened?

After the Delhi High Court rejected Chidambaram's anticipatory bail plea, the former Finance Minsiter’s legal counsel tried to get him an anticipatory bail from the Supreme Court. However, the top court has listed the matter for hearing on Friday. Chidabaram had requested the CBI and ED to wait till Friday till the bail plea is heard by the apex court. The WD and CBI issued separate look out circulars to prevent him from leaving the country. The CBI also posted a notice outside Chidabaram’s house asking him to appear for questioning within two hours. 

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