New Delhi: A trial court on Monday sent Karti Chidambaram, the son of former Union minister P Chidambaram, to 12-day judicial custody in the INX Media case.
Karti will now be lodged at Tihar Jail till March 24 and his pleas for separate cell and home-cooked food were also denied. CBI Special Judge Sunil Rana in his order stuck to equal treatment of prisoners, denying the request for separate jail cell and washroom as it would lead to Karti being "treated differently than other accused persons".
In his application, Karti’s counsel Dayan Krishan had said that "he is the son of former union home minister and many terrorists have been prosecuted during his (P Chidambaram) tenure and there is a clear threat perception to Karti".
"His (Karti) father P Chidambaram has dealt with stringent penal laws including TADA and MCOCA, posing a huge security threat to Karti," the senior advocate said, adding that he needs to be secured in a separate prison and be given a separate bathroom. "He cannot be exposed to any of these criminals," his advocate said.
"There is a threat. Petitioner (Karti) himself is the member of Congress. The threat exists, I hope the court to protect us. We have contemplated a situation and brought it to the court's notice. I cannot be sent to a common bathroom. And adequate security must be given," Krishnan submitted.
When the CBI opposed the plea for separate cell on the ground that if at all there was any threat, it was to P Chidambaram and not his son, Krishnan expressed shock and said the CBI's objection has enhanced the threat perception.
Karti Chidambaram has been in CBI custody for questioning since his arrest from Chennai Airport on February 28. He was arrested on his return from the United Kingdom in connection with the FIR lodged on May 15 last year. It alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds of about Rs 305 crore in 2007 when his father was Union finance minister.
The CBI had initially alleged that Karti Chidambaram received Rs 10 lakh as bribe for facilitating Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media. It, however, later revised the figure to USD 1 million (about Rs 6.50 crore at the current exchange rate and Rs 4.50 crore in 2007).
The fresh evidence in the case, which triggered Karti Chidambaram's arrest, was based on the statement of Indrani Mukerjea, former director of INX Media (P) Ltd, who recorded it under section 164 of the CrPC before a magistrate on February 17.