Representing Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in the Special CBI Court at Rouse Avenue on Thursday, senior Congress leader and advocate Kapil Sibal has argued that Chidambaram has been targetted by the CBI. He stated that the six secretaries of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) have not been arrested in connection with the INX Media case. He further stated that Chidambaram's son Karti -the accused in the case is on bail since March 2018. He also stated that the investigation in the INX Media case has been completed.
"The accused is Karti Chidambaram and he is on bail since 23rd March 2018. S. Bhaskaran too has been granted anticipatory bail and it has not been challenged. Meanwhile, Peter and Indrani are on default bail. Investigation has been completed by agency. With regard to this case, the FIPB approval is given by 6 secretaries - one became the governor of RBI and one is CEO Niti Aayog. These 6 secretaries have not been arrested," Sibal argued.
Talking about the reason for Chidambaram's arrest Sibal argued that the CBI told them (Chidambaram's counsels) that they want to take him in custody because they wanted to interrogate him. Sibal stated that they did not interrogate him on Wednesday and neither on Thursday morning. Detailing the interrogation, he revealed that the CBI had asked 12 questions which were answered by Chidambaram's counsels and can be read by the Court. He also stated that the questions were not pertaining to alleged payments to Chidambaram but were centered around 2018.
Alleging that CBI's allegations were not gospels of truth, he said: " Chidambaram has never escaped any interrogation. , Just because the CBI makes an allegation, that is not the gospel truth. You can’t produce an Investigation case diary and say that is evidence." Taking offence to the manner of arrest, he continued, "This is a matter of personal liberty. Not a question of putting a man in custody because the Government wants it to."
Meanwhile, his colleague, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi underlined the Indrani Mukherji link in the case stating, "Indrani made a statement originally on 17 Feb 2018. Accused is fully interrogated 4 months later after 164 statements of Indrani." Questioning CBI's motive, he continued, "Is is it conceivable that an agency so thirsty for arrest today didn’t call him once after 6 June?" He too argued that the six FIPB secretaries who were deciders were not arrested but the approving authority was.
Talking about the grounds for custodial interrogation, Singhvi stated that Flight risk, Intimidating witness and removing evidence or Non-co operation was the triple test. Chidambaram has proved not to be a flight risk, stated Singhvi. He stated that the CBI's entire case was based on one point - that is evasion. He said," Suppose he exercises his right against self-incrimination, can they come to you and say he is not answering questions?"
Slamming the entire approach to the case, he said:" The entire approach is wrong. They’re saying he is evading. That’s because he is not answering how they want him to answer. When they don’t find any evasion or non-cooperation, they use this new word “gravity of offence.” Meanwhile, he stated that 6 out of 12 were old questions that were asked to Singhvi one year ago. He also asked the judiciary to allow Chidambaram to speak for himself.
Earlier on Wednesday, after being untraceable for almost 27 hours, the Congress senior leader P. Chidambaram made a surprise arrival at the AICC head office to address a press brief. Following which he reached his residence, wherein the CBI and ED officials were present to question the Parliamentarian. However, they were blocked by the Congress leader to enter his house. They were then forced to scale walls to detain Chidambaram. He was then taken to the CBI headquarters.