In an unprecedented offer to the Supreme Court on Thursday, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said he was willing to remain in custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation till Monday in the INX Media corruption case. Dramatically arrested from his home last week, Chidambaram is in CBI custody till today and will be produced before a trial court when it expires.
The offer was made after Justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna said they would hear Chidambaram's plea on September 2 in which he has challenged the trial court for sending him to CBI custody. Today, if the CBI court turns down the investigating agency's request for sending him back to its custody, the former union minister may be sent to Tihar jail.
The judges, who did not comment on the offer, said they would announce their decision on September 5 on Chidambaram's plea challenging the Delhi High Court's August 20 verdict denying him anticipatory bail plea in the INX Media money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate.
The court also extended the interim protection from arrest granted to Chidambaram till September 5. Chidambaram, in his plea, has sought anticipatory bail in the money laundering case.
Senior advocates Mr. Kapil Sibal and Mr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Chidambaram, told the court that since the plea challenging the remand orders is listed on September 2, Chidambaram is offering to remain in CBI's custody till then.
The Solicitor General, Mr. Tushar Mehta, opposed the submission, saying extension of custody can only be done by the trial court as the case is pending there.
'If the same offer is made before the trial court tomorrow, then we may have no objection to it,' Mr Mehta said.
He also told the court that the ED needed to interrogate Chidambaram in custody without the 'protective umbrella' of anticipatory bail.