Chidambaram arrested after high drama;Karti calls it witch-hunt

Chidambaram arrested after high drama;Karti calls it witch-hunt

S Murari

As former Finance Minister P Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI around 10 p.m. on Wednesday night in the INX Media case hours after he surfaced in the AICC office to say he was not an accused and he was not fleeing from law but seeking legal protection, his son Karti called it was an old case which had been resurrected to witch-hunt him.

Talking to reporters in Chennai, he said it was a case which related to 2008 in which a charge-sheet was yet to be filed till August this year. Karti who was arrested last February for allegedly lobbying with Chidambaram when he was Finance Minister to get Foreign Investment Promotion Board(FIPB) clearance for INX Media to get overseas funds of Rs 305 crore.

Karti said he was summoned eight times and each appearance lasted upto ten hours. He dismissed as theatrics to the drama played out in New Delhi after the Supreme Court listed for hearing on Friday Chidambaram’s appeal against the rejection of his anticipatory bail by the Delhi High Court and his surfacing in the AICC office. Karti said the CBI trying to hunt him down by ringing his residence, scaling wall and finally apprehending at 10 in the night, "is pure theatrics played out for TV channels”.

Chidambaram appeared only once before the CBI and ED in this connection in 2016. Now he will be subjected to custodial interrogation when he will be confronted with the confession statement made by Indrani Mukherjee, wife of Peter Mukherjee of INX Media, before a magistrate under Sec 164 of the Cr.PC. that she paid kickback to Karti for swinging the deal.

Indrani Mukherjee, now in jail in connection with the murder of her daughter, has been made an approver on condition that she will make a statement about investment made in Karti’s firm as a quid pro quo for getting Rs 305 crore for her firm.

Congress lawyer Abishekh Manu Singhvi, who was with Chidambaram when he was arrested, said the agency had the warrant and took him to a remand magistrate. He said Chidambaram was summoned only once before in 2016. “For them to come with a warrant to arrest him after so many months smacked of vendetta,” he added.

The agency can interrogate till Thursday 10 p.m. after which he will have to be produced before a magistrate for remand. With his arrest, Chidambaram's appeal before the Supreme Court for pre-arrest bail has become infructuous.

The big question that the Congress raises is what will be credibility of the confessional statement of Indrani Mukherjee who is a murder accused.