P Chidambaram Could Be Questioned Soon, Son Karti's CBI Custody Extended

CBI had alleged that Karti Chidambaram, son of Congress leader P Chidambaram, has refused to share the passwords of his phones seized and was not cooperating with investigators probing the INX Media case.

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INX Media Case: Delhi Court gave CBI three more days to question Karti Chidambaram. (PTI)

New Delhi:  P Chidambaram, senior Congress leader and former union finance minister, could be called in by the Central Bureau of Investigation for questioning, sources said today, even as his son Karti Chidambaram was ordered by a Delhi court to spend three more days in custody of the agency. The CBI had asked the court to extend the custody of Karti Chidambaram by nine days, saying it has "concrete credible evidence collected recently" against him in a corruption case.  

The CBI also told the court that Karti Chidambaram has refused to share the passwords of his phones that the agency has seized, choosing only to say that he is a victim of political vendetta when asked "relevant questions".

Karti Chidambaram has been accused of receiving kickbacks a decade ago to get foreign investment into the INX Media group cleared by using the influence of his father P Chidambaram, who was then the Union finance minister. At that time, the company was owned by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, now in jail in a murder case.

It is Indrani Mukerjea's statement before a magistrate earlier that was used by the CBI to tie Karti to the bribery charges. In this, Ms Mukerjea had alleged that they had approached P Chidambaram who told them to meet his son. Karti Chidambaram is alleged to have demanded a facilitation fee of 1 million dollars at their meeting.

CBI sources said this is the context in which they wanted to question the former finance minister. Also, officials alleged that some top finance ministry officials had pointed out that "certain procedures" were not followed in dealing with this case.

P Chidambaram was in court today, with his wife Nalini Chidambaram, like him a prominent lawyer. They reached Delhi's Patiala House court complex minutes before Karti was brought to the court.

The CBI told the court that its case is not just based on Indrani Mukerjea's testimony but also other evidence that it had gathered.

In his request for bail, Karti Chidambaram pleaded that there is no reason to hold him in custody. "It's a 10 year old case, I can't change files or affect the testimony of officials...Why custody? I can be questioned morning to evening," Karti Chidambaram's lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi said. The special CBI court did not rule on the bail application and put off a decision to Friday.

As he left court, Karti Chidambaram told NDTV that all allegations against him "are wild and reckless and will be proved wrong".

The CBI countered bail for Mr Chidambaram today alleging that evidence has been tampered with in the case. "It is an enormous offence...it will cause serious prejudice to the probe if further remand is not granted," the CBI's lawyer said in court,

The CBI also informed the court today about Karti Chidambaram being faced off with Indrani Mukerjea at Mumbai's Byculla jail on Sunday, which the CBI had recorded.

The extension of custody was the second blow today for Karti Chidambaram, who has sought bail. Hours earlier, the Supreme Court declined to rule today on his request to cancel summons issued by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case related to the CBI case. The top court agreed with the government's contention that staying Mr Chidambaram's arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) could affect proceedings in other cases

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