Relief for Chidambaram, but CBI seeks custody

Hours after former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram was granted protection from any coercive action, the CBI on Tuesday pressed for his custodial interrogation in the INX Media corruption case, alleging it was necessary as he has remained evasive and non-cooperative during questioning.

The probe agency made the submission in an affidavit filed before Justice A.K. Pathak. The judge listed the matter for hearing on August 1 and extended till then the interim protection against arrest granted on May 31 to Mr. Chidambaram.

The CBI, represented by Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, said despite there being “cogent and convincing material on record” based on which questions were put to the former Union Minister, he “chose to remain evasive and did not cooperate with the investigating agency.”

“The material collected so far and the intensity and the gravity of the offence which is unfolding, requires custodial interrogation of the petitioner (Chidambaram), which is quantitatively different.

The High Court, while granting interim protection from arrest, had asked the senior Congress leader to join questioning and cooperate in the investigation as and when called by the CBI.

In Chidambaram’s anticipatory bail plea, it was contended that the former Minister was being harassed in the case, in which he was not named.

The senior leader’s role had come under the scanner of investigating agencies in the Aircel-Maxis deal of Rs. 3,500 crore and INX Media case involving Rs. 305 crore.

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