Karti to stay in CBI custody for five more days

Karti to stay in CBI custody for five more days

Karti to stay in CBI custody for five more days

Former finance minister P Chidambaram's son Karti, who was arrested on charges of taking a bribe for fraudulently granting government approval for foreign investment in INX Media, was on Thursday sent to CBI custody for another five days.

Special Judge Sunil Rana extended Karti's custody till March 6 after the CBI sought 14-days' custody for connecting the dots in the case which the agency said had unravelled "very shocking evidence" of his acts abroad where he closed bank accounts linked to the case.

Karti was arrested in Chennai on his arrival from the United Kingdom on Wednesday and brought to Delhi where a duty magistrate had sent him to one-day CBI custody.
Granting custody to the CBI, the court said it was necessary to unearth the larger conspiracy in the case and his presence would serve important purposes connected with the probe.

The judge's decision came after three hours of arguments by Karti's counsel Abhishek Singhvi and Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the CBI. Karti's parents Chidambaram and Nalini, a senior lawyer, were also present in the courtroom and had interacted with him when the judge retired to dictate the order.

The court allowed Karti to meet his lawyers for one hour in the morning and evening during CBI custody. While he was allowed to carry medicines on prescription, his demand for home food, however, was not allowed.

The CBI said Karti has to be confronted with the statements of witnesses, including former RBI governor D Subba Rao, who had headed a committee which dealt with the FIPB issue of INX Media before the approval was granted.

Mehta argued that  Karti's  arrest was "not a case of political vendetta" as alleged by the accused.

"There are very shocking evidences of what  Karti  did when he went abroad. When he went abroad, he closed bank accounts in which funds were received," he claimed.

Arguing for extended custody, doctors at Safdarjung Hospital on Wednesday night advised that  Karti  should stay in the cardiac care unit though the accused had not complained of any uneasiness.

This meant that the custody given by the court was virtually wasted.

Countering CBI's arguments, Singhvi said the agency had questioned  Karti  for around 22 hours in August 2017 but did not issue any further summons after that. He said issuance of summons is the only way to establish non-cooperation.

"You never tested my (Karti's) non-cooperation. Sudden arrest after six months. There is not an iota of evidence against  Karti," Singhvi said.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox