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P Chidambaram sent to four-day CBI custody by special Delhi court

The Congress leader was arrested on allegations of favouring INX Media when he was the Finance Minister.

By PTI

  • Published 22.08.19, 7:39 PM
  • Updated 22.08.19, 7:47 PM
P Chidmabaran being taken by the CBI for interrogation.
P Chidmabaran being taken by the CBI for interrogation. Photograph by Prem Singh

 A special CBI court allowed the CBI a four-day custody of Congress leader P Chidambaram in the INX Media corruption case. Special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar asked the agency to conduct medical examination of Chidambaram per rules. The court has allowed family members and lawyers of Chidambaram to met him for half an hour every day during the CBI custody.

"Considering the facts and circumstances, I am of the view that police custody is justified," the judge said and remanded him to CBI's custody till August 26.

The Congress leader was arrested after he failed to get protection from the Supreme Court, which on 21 August, decided to hear his petition seeking a stay order on 23 August. Chidambaram has approached the apex court against the high court's August 20 verdict.

The Supreme Court sent the  plea to be heard before a bench headed by Justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna.

Opposition leaders, including those from the Congress, came out in support of  Chidambaram on 22 August, claiming the manner in which he was treated as depressing and insulting. They also termed his arrest the as a "murder" of democracy. The Congress has also lashed out at the government and accused it of using the CBI and ED as personal "revenge-seeking departments".

Party chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said at a press conference, "The vindictive, selective and malicious manner in which former finance and home minister Chidambaram has been persecuted and prosecuted is nothing short of a brazen personal and political vendetta. Over the last two days India witnessed the broad daylight murder of democracy and the rule of law by a government hell bent upon using CBI and ED as personal revenge-seeking departments for the party in power. .

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the arrest of Chidambaram was "depressing" and alleged that the judiciary was not coming to the help of a "crying" democratic system.

In her first reaction after Chidambaram's arrest on Wednesday evening, Banerjee quoted Rabindranath Tagore and said the "message of justice is crying silently in isolation". She also alleged that media outlets have become spokespersons of the ruling BJP.

P Chidambaram is an economist, and a former home minister and finance minister. The manner in which he has been arrested is depressing. There are four pillars of democracy: democratic institutions, Election Commission, media and judicial system. The democratic system of our country is crying, yet the judiciary is not coming to its aid.

Mamata Bannerjee in a statement issued by the Trinamool Congress.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said that the law should take its own course, but the treatment meted out to the senior leader was "objectionable". The law will take its own course, but the manner in which it was done, the drama that ensued was completely objectionable."

Backing the former finance minister, DMK chief M K Stalin termed it a "political vendetta", while the RJD attacked the BJP, claiming that all will be forgiven if you are with the saffron party. Stalin lashed out at CBI officials for scaling the walls of the Congress leader's house on Wedesday to gain entry and said that he considered it an "insult to India". "I saw on TV, the CBI officers scaling the walls (at Chidambaram's Delhi residence). I consider it as an insult to India. It is condemnable," he told reporters in Chennai.

NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik alleged it was the Modi government's "model" of "misusing" probe agencies to harass opposition leaders who speak up against it and added people will see through the developments. Meanwhile, Congress workers held protests in West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh against Chidambaram's arrest.

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