INX Media scam: Delhi court extends Chidambaram's judicial custody till Oct 3

INX Media scam: Delhi court extends Chidambaram's judicial custody till Oct 3
P Chidambaram. File/AFP

New Delhi: Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram will remain in jail till October 3 as a Delhi court on Thursday extended his judicial custody in connection with the INX Media corruption case, saying that the investigation is still in progress.

Special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar said there was no change in the circumstances and noted that Chidambaram has already moved a bail plea before the Delhi High Court.

"This court has considered the grounds for police custody and thereafter for judicial custody and granted remand accordingly. There is no change in the circumstances as such. It is not a case where no case is made out against the accused. The investigation is still in progress. The accused has already applied for the bail before the Delhi high court. Therefore as per understanding of this court, the judicial remand of the accused has to be extended. Accordingly, the judicial remand of the accused is extended till October 3," the court said.

Chidambaram, lodged in Tihar Jail, was produced before the court after his 14-day judicial custody ended on Thursday.

The court extended the judicial custody of Chidambaram after the CBI sought extension of the veteran Congress leader's judicial remand.

It also allowed medical examination of Chidambaram after his lawyers told the court that he is suffering from various ailments.

"It is directed that the medical record submitted by the accused today be sent to Superintendent Central Jail Tihar, who shall ensure that the accused is examined medically for his illness at the jail hospital and if required, be examined in multi disciplinary hospital/institute like AIIMS, Safdarjung or Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital," the court said.

It also directed the jail superintendent to consider the request of Chidambaram to provide chair and pillow considering the issue of back pain as complained by him.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for CBI, sought extension of the judicial custody and said there has been no change of circumstance from the day he was first sent to jail.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, opposed the investigative agency's plea to extend his judicial custody.

Sibal moved an application on behalf of Chidambaram seeking regular medical checkup and adequate supplementary diet during judicial custody in Tihar Jail.

He said that the 73-year-old Congress leader is suffering from various ailments like coronary artery disease, hypertension, impaired glycemia and has lost weight during the custody, to which he was sent on September 5.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, also appearing for Chidambaram, said the former minister had a chair in the hall outside his cell which has been taken away. "He can only sit on bed. He also has not been given a pillow".

Allow him to be examined at AIIMS, Sibal said.

"Health of any inmate is of concern. Whatever is permissable in law, would be done by the jail authorities," Mehta said.

The CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram's tenure as the finance minister.

Thereafter, the Enforcement Directorate lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2017.

Chidambaram, who was Union home minister as also finance minister during the UPA rule from 2004 to 2014, was arrested by the CBI on August 21 from his Jor Bagh residence.