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With Chidambaram in its custody, CBI to widen FIPB probe

With Chidambaram in its custody, CBI to widen FIPB probe

New Delhi, Aug 22 (UNI) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is likely to expand its probe in the INX Media case after a Delhi Court on Thursday granted police custody of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the case till August 26 to the probe agency.

Although getting Mr Chidambaram's custody, the agency is prepared to quiz the former Finance Minister in the case on many aspects and confront him with the evidence which it has gathered.

CBI is also investigating trail of payments in several companies abroad and Letter Rogatories (LRs) have been sent to the concerned countries which will throw light on such transactions linked in the FIPB scam, the sources said.

According to sources, the probe conducted so far has revealed that Mr. Chidambaram's son, Karti Chidambaram, through his front /shell companies has allegedly received payments from many other companies also which were allegedly granted FIPB approvals by Mr Chidambaram while he was at the helm of the Finance Ministry.

As per the Court directions, the former Finance Minister will undergo a medical examination every 48 hours, and would be allowed to meet his family members and lawyers daily for half-an-hour while in custody.

CBI contended that a grave offence was committed and there was reasonable ground for the custody of Mr Chidambaram as he was evasive in his replies. Investigating agency submitted that he was not cooperating in the probe and it needed five days for his custodial interrogation to get to the bottom of certain questions. It further submitted that the INX Media scam was a serious and monumental case under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Senior counsels Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing on behalf of senior Congress leader, opposed the custodial interrogation, submitting that first arrest in the case was of Bhaskar Raman, Chartered Accountant of Karti, who is currently out on bail, besides Indrani and Peter Mukerjea were also key accused in the case. He further contended that Chidambaram was arrested last night but interrogated only at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

The counsels argued that grant of bail was a rule and the issue before the court was of personal liberty as Chidambaram never skipped interrogation.

He argued that the FIPB approval is given by six Government Secretaries and none have been arrested in this case. Defence counsel submitted that Mr Chidambaram has never skipped from interrogation and this is a case of documentary evidence so there was not a flight risk.

UNI APS - VT 2038

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