A Delhi court has reserved order on the Enforcement Directorate's appeal to arrest and interrogate former finance minister P Chidambaram fr alleged money laundering in the INX Media case. Mr Chidambaram, who was arrested and questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation on August 21 in the same case, has been in Tihar jail for more than a month.
The agency had moved two applications -- to formally arrest Mr Chidambaram and seek his custody. But Mr Chidambaram's legal team contended that the agency cannot move an application this way.
"The Enforcement Directorate doesn't have a First Information Report, they are relying on the FIR of the CBI. If so, the CBI custody of Chidambaram is already over. Now ED can't seek his custody again," said Mr Chidambaram's counsel and party colleague Kapil Sibal.
"The Enforcement Directorate cannot seek remand of Chidambaram for the probe of the same alleged offence after the completion of 15 days of CBI custody," he added.
Appearing for the agency, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that custodial interrogation of Chidambaram is necessary since money laundering is a separate offence.
"I will pass orders on the applications tomorrow," said special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar.
Mr Chidambaram has been in judicial custody since September 5 in the INX Media corruption case filed by the CBI.
Mr Chidambaram is accused of signing off on a huge infusion of foreign funds into the firm as the finance minister in the UPA government led by Manmohan Singh in 2007 at the behest of his son Karti Chidambaram. The CBI has accused Karti Chidambaram of receiving kickbacks in the matter. Investigating agencies suspect the funds are stashed abroad.
The INX Media was co-founded by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, who are currently in jail in the case involving the murder of Indrani's daughter Sheena Bora.
Indrani Mukerjea has turned approver in the case against the Chidambarams and the investigative agencies have based their case on her testimony.