By Rajnish Singh
New Delhi, Aug 22 (IANS) A live demonstration of fate taking a twist can be seen in the case of former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, arrested by the CBI in the INX Media case.
The senior Congress leader, who himself inaugurated the present CBI headquarters in 2011, had to spend Wednesday night in the same building after the agency arrested him over alleged money laundering in the INX Media case.
Chidambaram was then the Union Home Minister during the UPA-II government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He served as Home Minister during November 2008 to July 2012.
The senior Congress leader was the key guest along with Manmohan Singh during the June 30, 2011 inauguration of the new building of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) headquarters on south Delhi’s Lodhi Road.
Chidambaram, known as a master strategist of the Congress, was arrested and taken to the CBI headquarters by the agency sleuths on Wednesday night after a day-long drama that saw agency officials scaling the walls of his Jor Bagh residence here, minutes after his press conference at the party headquarters where he said he was “not hiding from the law but seeking protection of the law.”
The seven-time Lok Sabha MP and now Rajya Sabha member, Chidambaram, the CBI and the ED claimed was untraceable since the Delhi High Court on Tuesday rejected his anticipatory bail plea in the INX Media case prompting him to approach the Supreme Court challenging the order and seeking relief from arrest.
Following the Delhi High Court order, the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) visited the Congress leader’s house more than once but could not trace him. The CBI, a day before, had also pasted a notice outside his house seeking his appearance before the investigators within “two hours”.
Later the two central agencies on Wednesday afternoon issued separate lookout circulars against Chidambaram alerting all airports and immigration departments to stop him if he tries to flee the country.
Chidambaram on Wednesday then made a dramatic appearance at the Congress headquarters in Delhi on Wednesday evening and addressed a press conference in which he rejected the charges against him and his son in the INX Media case and said “lies” were being spread by “pathological liars”.
Chidambaram’s appearance came after he could not get relief from the Supreme Court over CBI and ED’s pursuit of him as the matter was not heard by the court despite repeated efforts by his lawyers.
After arresting him, officials close to the investigation, requesting anonymity, said that Chidambaram’s formal questioning started after 12 a.m. on Thursday with CBI Director Rishi Kumar Shukla himself present in the CBI headquarters along with all top agency officials.
After Chidambaram’s arrest, doctors from the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital conducted his medical examination at the CBI headquarters.
The 73-year-old senior Congress leader, the sources said, then was first offered food by the CBI which he refused to take following which he was asked 20 crucial questions related to the case that include his meeting with Indrani Mukerjea, jailed co-founder of INX Media and an accused in the Sheena Bora murder case.
The case relates to an FIR registered by the CBI on May 15, 2017 over alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance provided to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007, when Chidambaram was Union Finance Minister.
The ED had lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2018.
The ED and the CBI are probing how Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram managed to get FIPB clearance in 2007 when his father was Finance Minister.
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at [email protected])