Free Press Journal

13-day jail for Karti, no special cell for him


New Delhi : Karti Chidambaram, businessman son of former finance minister P Chidambaram, was on Monday sent to judicial custody till March 24 in the INX Media corruption case, after the CBI told a city court that it does not require his further custody.

Special CBI Judge Sunil Rana at the Patiala Court did not free him but opted to hear the CBI on Thursday on the bail petition he had moved last week.

Karti was arrested on February 28 from the Chennai airport on return from London on the charge of allegedly taking money to facilitate Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media in 2007 when his father was the finance minister in the UPA government.

The CBI, which managed to keep him in its custody by getting his remand repeatedly extended, told the court that it had found ‘new incriminating documents’ during his interrogation to prove that Karti Chidambaram got kickbacks to get foreign investment clearance.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the judge that the CBI had recovered evidence to prove that Karti had direct links with Advantage Strategic, which allegedly received lakhs of rupees for facilitating FIPB approvals for INX Media and Aircel companies.

Defence lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi opposed the CBI plea, mocking at the agency for its failure to locate the well-known registered office address of Advantage Strategic in Nungambakkam High Road in Chennai.

“For one year, the CBI cannot find the registered office. Anyone can Google about it. It is tragic as well as comic for me.”  Mehta countered Singhvi and said some documents had been shifted from the Chennai office location.

 The CBI raided the location on a tip off on March 7 and 8 and several documents were recovered, he said.

The court refused Karti’s plea for a separate cell in the jail in view of threat perception, saying the social status of the Chidambaram family cannot be ignored, but he cannot be treated differently from the other accused persons and he cannot be allowed to be kept in separate prison or have the home food.

“The apprehension raised by the senior counsel for accused cannot be ignored keeping in view the social status of accused and his family, more specifically, his father, who is a former union minister. However, only keeping in view the fact of social status of accused and his father, he cannot be treated different from other accused persons and cannot be allowed to be kept in separate prison,” the court said.

The judge, however, directed the lock-up in-charge and the jail superintendent “to provide and ensure proper security and safety to accused during judicial custody, as per rules. He allowed Karti to carry spectacles and medicines as per prescription subject to examination and approval by the jail doctor, but denied his request to carry toiletries, books, clothes and home food.

Karti moves HC seeking bail

New Delhi: Karti Chidambaram on Monday moved the Delhi High Court seeking bail, hours after a court sent him to judicial custody till March 24. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said the matter would be heard tomorrow by an appropriate bench after the counsel for Karti, senior advocate Dayan Krishnan, moved the court seeking bail.

More trouble for Chidambaram

New Delhi: Stepping up the heat on former finance minister P Chidambaram, the government on Monday said it will take action against the persons who relaxed gold import norms for private trading houses during the dying days of the UPA regime resulting in a windfall of Rs 4,500 crore to 13 such entities in just six months.