DK Shivakumar in ED custody till September 17.
New Delhi: Trouble continued unabated for senior Congress leaders as a Delhi court extended the Enforcement Directorate custody of Karnataka Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar till September 17 and dismissed former finance minister P. Chidambaram’s plea seeking to surrender in a money-laundering case.
Special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar extended Mr Shivakumar’s custodial interrogation after the ED sought a five-day extension of his custody. The judge told the ED it should take care of Mr Shivakumar’s medical requirements first and only then ask him questions. Mr Shivakumar, arrested on September 3 by the ED in a money-laundering case, was produced before a Delhi court at the end of his nine-day custodial interrogation.
The court also dismissed Mr Chidambaram’s plea to surrender before the ED in the money-laundering matter. He is now in Tihar Jail in the INX Media corruption case. The ED had on Thursday told the court that Mr Chidambaram’s arrest was necessary in the money-laundering case and it will do so at an appropriate time. Mr Chidambaram’s lawyer said the ED’s submission was mala fide and intended to make him suffer.
Mr Chidambaram, 73, is already in judicial custody in the INX Media corruption case probed by the CBI. The ED told the court since Mr Chidambaram was already in judicial custody in the CBI case, he was not in a position to tamper with evidence.
Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, appearing for Mr Chidambaram, said the ED had come to the Congress leader’s house to arrest him on August 20 and 21 but now they don’t want to do so to ensure that he remains in judicial custody. The ED counsel argued some aspects needed to be probed before his custodial interrogation. The ED said it needed interrogate six persons before his custodial interrogation and it was investigating money-laundering that reaches beyond this country.
The ED’s contention was that the accused cannot guide the probe and an order to take him into custody now will curtail the agency’s discretion. It said prior to August 21, the “reasons to believe” he needed to be arrested existed, and it exists even today, the ED said, adding that after arresting Mr Chidambaram it wanted to confront him with the evidence that has been gathered.
On September 5, Mr Chidambaram was remanded to 14-day judicial custody in the CBI corruption case till September 19. The same day, the court issued notice to the ED on Mr Chidambaram’s plea seeking to surrender in the money-laundering case. The Supreme Court had dismissed his plea against the August 20 Delhi high court order denying him pre-arrest bail.
The CBI registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance granted to INX Media for receiving overseas funds of `305 crores in 2007 when Mr Chidambaram was the finance minister. Thereafter, the ED lodged a money-laundering case in this regard in 2017.