On Thursday, the Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Court remanded Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram to judicial custody till September 19. The CBI had moved an application seeking his judicial custody as Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) mandates a maximum custody period of 15 days. Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court (SC) denied Chidambaram anticipatory bail in the case registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) pertaining to INX Media. Here are the three ways in which Chidambaram’s arrogance got punctured in the Special CBI court:
Kapil Sibal, senior advocate, and advocate for the accused, agreed that the charges were serious in nature. However, he contended that there was no evidence in the matter. He further argued that no chargesheet was filed against Chidambaram. Sibal also mentioned that there was no concrete proof of his client having tampered with evidence. This argument clearly did not withstand judicial scrutiny.
Sibal articulated the point of view that the former Home Minister did not speak to any witness in the case. He added that as the case was based on documentary evidence, there was no question of the accused trying to tamper with evidence or influence a witness. This contention runs contrary to Indrani Mukerjea’s confessional statement to the CBI under Section 164 of the CrPC, where she claimed that Chidambaram directed her and her husband Peter to help his son Karti. She maintained that money exchanged hands benefiting the Chidambaram father-son duo. His stance thus, prima facie could not convince the court.
In a startling turn of events, the advocate for the accused stated that Chidambaram was ready to surrender before the ED. Sibal used this as an excuse to prevent his client from being remanded to judicial custody. He went to quote the SC judgment in the KK Giridhar case to seek Chidambaram’s release. The basic premise of the accused was that judicial custody was not a natural consequence of police custody. Sibal commented that the Magistrate must be convinced of the necessity of judicial custody. However, in the process, the SC had refused to interfere in the bail plea, thereby implying that there were not enough grounds to grant Chidambaram bail. Subsequently, the CBI Judge did not accept any of these claims and thus, Chidambaram will have to spend the next 14 days in Tihar jail.