Now, ED arrests P Chidambaram in INX Media case

Former Union finance minister P Chidambaram. (PTI photo)

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram was arrested by Enforcement Directorate from Tihar Jail on Wednesday in the INX Media money laundering case even as the CBI fastened its process to file a chargesheet naming him in the corruption case.

With a local court allowing ED to interrogate Chidambaram, who is in judicial custody after CBI arrested him on August 21 in the INX Media case, in the prison and arrest if necessary, the agency officials went to the Tihar Jail Prisons where they recorded his arrest.

A three-member ED team arrived at the prison at 8:15 am and stayed there for around two hours during which they briefly questioned Chidambaram, who turned 74 in jail, and placed him under arrest.

The special ED court issued production warrant against Chidambaram and asked jail authorities to produce him at 3 PM on Thursday. The ED has filed a plea seeking his 14-day custodial interrogation and the court said that it will take up the matter when Chidambaram is produced before the court.

While his CBI custody ended on September 5, Chidambaram had pleaded in the court that he be sent to ED custody but the agency had then refused to take him in custody following which he was sent to 14-day judicial custody, which was subsequently extended from time to time. His bail pleas were rejected by the courts and Supreme Court is currently hearing his bail plea.

The CBI is investigating the corruption angle in the INX Media case while the ED is probing money laundering in the case. The CBI had arrested Chidambaram on August 21 and after his police custody ended, he was lodged in Tihar Jail with the investigators claiming that bail would mean that he would influence witnesses to get scot-free.

Chidambaram is facing allegations of illegally granting permission to INX Media to receive Rs 305 crore foreign direct investment when he was Finance Minister under UPA government. Karti, his son and Lok Sabha MP who was arrested by CBI in February 2018, is accused of influencing Ministry of Finance officials to grant the clearance using his father's clout.

Chidambaram had been also accused of former INX Media promoters Peter Mukerjea and Indrani Mukerjea that he asked them to help his son's business when they approached him for help. Indrani had alleged Karti had demanded USD one million from the promoters.

Meanwhile, CBI sources said it is in the final stages of filing a chargesheet in theINX Media case in which it is likely to name Chidambaram and his son Karti. It could also name senior government officials who were part of the decision-making process related to foreign investment clearance given to INX Media.

Indrani, who is facing charges of murdering her daughter in a separate case, had turned approver and is likely to be a prosecution witness, they said.

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