No relief for Chidambaram, court rejects surrender plea

No relief for Chidambaram, court rejects surrender plea

P Chidambaram

New Delhi, Sep 13 (IANS) If investigators don't want to arrest, surrender application can't be entertained, said a Delhi court on Friday while turning down the surrender application filed by former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in the ED case relating to INX Media. Chidambaram is presently lodged in Tihar jail in connection with the INX Media corruption case. "When the investigating officer is not willing to arrest the applicant at this stage, his application for surrender in the court cannot be entertained," Special CBI Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar said in his order, dismissing the senior Congress leader's plea. The court also observed that it would be wrong to assume that if the application for anticipatory bail has been rejected, there is no option but to arrest. The court had reserved its order on the surrender application filed by Chidambaram on Thursday. "Choosing the date of arrest is not the right of any accused. It's always the right of the probe agency to take a decision in the interest of effective investigation," the ED had said in an affidavit filed before the court. "It is my case that the arrest was necessary and is still necessary and we would have exercised the power of arrest had he not been in judicial custody. But now as he is in the judicial custody and cannot tamper with evidence or influence the witness, we will utilize this time to complete background interrogation and then seek his custody for effective utilization of the 15-day period," Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said during the hearing on Thursday. 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 Rs 305 crore overseas funds in 2007 during Chidambaram's tenure as the Finance Minister. The ED too filed a money laundering case against the former Finance Minister in this regard in 2017.

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