Enormity of sum involved needs in-depth probe: Judge on PC

By Ananya Bhatnagar

New Delhi, Aug 22 (IANS) "The allegations made against accused are serious in nature and there cannot be a dispute with the fact that a detailed and in- depth investigation is required in the present case," said Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar in his order sending former Union Minister P. Chidambaram to CBI custody till August 26.

He went on to say that allegations of payment being made to the accused in the year 2007-08 and 2008-09 are specific and categorical. "The trail of this money, if so paid, is to be ascertained. No doubt it is a case, to a large extent based on documentary evidence, but those documents need to be traced and their value and their worth for the purpose of the investigation in this case is to be ascertained," said the order.

Dismissing the arguments of Chidamabaram's counsel Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi that the senior Congress leader has not been called for investigation since June 2016, the judge said it cannot be a ground to disallow the CBI from conducting an effective probe now.

The judge also said that to safeguard Chidambaram's right as the citizen, the investigative agency will ensure that the personal dignity of the accused is not violated in any manner.

The court granted permission for Chidamabaram's family to meet him during the duration of the custody for half an hour every day. It also asked a medical examination to be conducted after every 48 hours.

The former Union Minister is under scanner for his role in the conspiracy for a downstream investment by INX Media (P) Ltd in M/s INX News (P) Ltd. without the approval of the FIPB. It is also alleged that his son Karti Chidambaram exerted influence on public servant of the FIPB in the Finance Ministry to prevent punitive action against INX Group.

It is also alleged that INX Media promoters Indrani Mukherjea and Pratim Mukherjee paid $5 million and $4,50,000 US dollar to Chidambaram in 2007-08 and 2008-09, respectively, for settling the issues relating to violation of the FEMA.

(Ananya Bhatnagar can be contacted at ananya.b@ians.in)

--IANS

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