NEW DELHI: Former Indian home and finance minister P Chidambaram was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation after a night of high-voltage drama that saw CBI officers climbing walls to enter Chidambaram’s home.
Chidambaram was arrested at the CBI headquarters after being taken into custody from his Jor Bagh home in the INX Media case, in which he has been accused of wrongdoing, money laundering and misusing the post of finance minister. He will be kept at the CBI headquarters tonight and will be produced in a court on Thursday morning.
Earlier, Chidambaram, who had not been seen in public since Tuesday evening, made a dramatic appearance at a press conference at the Congress headquarters and asked probe agencies to “respect” the law and wait till Friday when the Supreme Court is supposed to hear his interim bail plea.
Facing arrest after the Indian Supreme Court refused immediate relief in the INX media case, Chidambaram put up a strong defense of himself and his family members, saying none of them have been accused of any offense by the probe agencies.
A cat-and-mouse game followed soon after Chidambaram appeared at the Congress headquarters at 8 pm on Wednesday. A CBI team followed him there only to find that Chidambaram had already left for home. The CBI followed him to his Jor Bagh home.
A team of CBI officers reached Chidambaram’s home and knocked at the main gate for a few minutes before scaling the boundary wall to enter the premises.
Around an hour after the CBI first reached Chidambaram’s home, the CBI whisked him away and took him to the RML Hospital, likely for a medical check-up.
The INX Media case is the same scam in which his son Karti was in jail for 23 days before being granted bail by the Delhi High Court.
The scam drew attention as other high profile accused in the same case are jailed – media baron Peter Mukerjea and his wife Indrani.
Both of them are in jail in connection with the murder of Sheena Bora, who was Indrani’s daughter from her previous marriage.
Karti’s arrest was made on the basis of a statement of Indrani — former Director of INX Media (P) Ltd — to ED, where she had said that the couple had acceded to Karti’s demand of $1 million for allegedly fixing the violations made in the FIPB clearance.
Indrani had on July 11 turned approver in the CBI case.
The names of the couple had cropped up in the case involving Rs 305 crore relating to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval granted in 2007 for receipt of funds by INX Media.
Karti Chidambaram, elected MP from Shivaganga, Tamil Nadu, is on bail in the case granted by the Delhi High Court on March 23, 2018.
CBI had registered an FIR in the case on May 15, 2017 alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to the media group for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during P Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister.
Thereafter, ED also lodged the money laundering case against the company’s founders, the Mukerjeas, and others under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Karti was arrested on February 28, 2018 by the CBI on his return from the United Kingdom.
He was granted interim protection from arrest in the money laundering by the Delhi High Court on March 9, 2018 which was later extended by the apex court on March 14, 2018 the relief which has been extended from time to time.