CBI acting at Centre's behest to malign my father's image, says Karti Chidambaram
Karti Chidambaram, arrested son of senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, sought bail from a Delhi court alleging that the CBI was acting at the behest of the Centre to malign the reputation of his father during whose tenure FIPB clearance was granted to the INX Media group.
Karti contended that his arrest was "illegal and arbitrary" but the agency opposed his bail plea, saying the investigation was at a crucial stage and his custodial interrogation was necessary to unearth the entire conspiracy in the INX Media corruption case.
Special CBI Judge Sunil Rana posted the bail plea for hearing on March 9 when the three-day CBI custody of Karti would come to an end.
The bail application stated, "It is submitted that the instant criminal proceeding is mala fide and borne out of political vendetta and the investigating agency was acting at the behest of the central government, which wants to malign the untainted and unimpeachable reputation of the applicant's father P Chidambaram who is a senior leader of the Indian National Congress and is also the ex-Union finance minister."
In his plea, Karti, who was arrested by the CBI at Chennai Airport on February 28, also claimed that he had never attempted to influence witnesses, tamper with documentary evidence or pollute or obstruct the judicial process as was alleged by the probe agency.
The bail application filed by senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who was appearing for Karti, said that the evidence in the case was in the form of files and in possession of the Finance Ministry so there was no question of tampering by him.
"It is further submitted that the evidence in the case is documentary in nature and is largely in the nature of files in the Ministry of Finance which are currently in the safe and secure possession of the incumbent government. As such there arises no question of the applicant being able to tamper with the said documentary evidence."
Claiming he was innocent and falsely implicated, Karti submitted that he hailed from a well-known, respected and leading family and by occupation he had been in business for several years.
"As such he has clean antecedents and deep roots in society," the plea said.
The court will hear arguments on the bail application on March 9, when Karti will be produced from custody, as the CBI sought time to file a detailed reply on the plea.
In his plea, Karti also contended that during investigation in the matter, he was summoned by the investigating officer (IO) twice and that he fully cooperated and complied with all the directions of the IO.
He said he was questioned for 15 hours on both occasions -- on August 23 and August 28, 2017 -- and that since then he had never been summoned by the agency until February 28, when he was arrested.
"It is pertinent to point out that despite non-issuance of any summons by the agency after August 28, 2017, the CBI, in a wholly illegal and arbitrary manner arrested him on February 28 from the Chennai Airport upon his return from the United Kingdom," he said in the bail plea.
"The CBI, in flagrant violation of law, arrested the applicant without any just cause and without furnishing to him the grounds of arrest," it said.
The plea claimed that Karti had cooperated in every possible manner in the investigation and shall be available before the court or probe agency as and when required in future.