- P Chidambaram's CBI custody extended till Thursday by Supreme Court
- He was arrested from his south Delhi home on August 21
- CBI is investigating allegations against him in the INX Media case
Former Union Minister P Chidambaram avoided the possibility of being sent to Delhi's Tihar Jail today as the Supreme Court extended his CBI custody till Thursday. Mr Chidambaram is 74 and should be protected, argued Kapil Sibal for his senior Congress colleague, who has spent 11 days in CBI custody since his arrest on August 21.
"There must be some protection to Chidambaram. He is 74 years old. Let him be put under house arrest and not sent to Tihar Jail," Kapil Sibal appealed to the Supreme Court.
In CBI custody, Mr Chidambaram has been put up in a room on the ground floor of the agency's headquarters in Delhi. If he is sent to judicial custody, he will be taken to Tihar, Asia's largest prison facility, where he will be treated like other prisoners.
The top court said the former Finance Minister, arrested by the CBI in a corruption case, should apply for regular bail before the competent court.
"You can't humiliate people like this,"Mr Sibal argued, wondering what would happen if the trial court rejected the request and sent him to jail.
The court said house arrest was an option only for political prisoners. The judges, R Banumathi and AS Bopanna, also questioned why Mr Chidambaram was not making the request before the special CBI court, which has to decide on his custody.
The CBI, which is investigating allegations against Mr Chidambaram in the INX Media case, said it was the special CBI court which has to decide on where the Congress leader should be held. The agency insisted that he should be granted no protection.
The top court finally ordered three more days of CBI custody and decided to take up Mr Chidambaram's case on Thursday.
Mr Chidambaram has the option of requesting interim bail from the CBI court. Even if it is rejected, he will be in CBI custody till Thursday.
Mr Chidambaram is accused by the CBI of facilitating a huge infusion of foreign funds into the media company INX Media in 2007, when he was Finance Minister, at the instance of his son Karti Chidambaram, who allegedly received kickbacks for his role.
Mr Chidambaram and his son were named by INX Media co-founders Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, who are in jail in Mumbai for the murder of Indrani's daughter Sheena Bora. Indrani Mukerjea, who turned approver in the case, reportedly revealed details of her meeting with the Chidambarams.