INX Media: Special Judge Asks ED To Interrogate P Chidambaram First, Move For Custody Later [Read Order]
Special CBI Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar has allowed ED to interrogate P Chidambaram tomorrow, and then move an application for his police remand in INX Media case.
The judge cited application of remand at this stage to be premature and hence asked the agency to interrogate the accused first and then move an application for his police remand.
The judge mentioned that since the accused is already in judicial custody, the permission of this court has to be sought before making his arrest under section 19 of PMLA.
Therefore, he regarded the application for arrest as application for interrogation, and asked the agency to interrogate the accused first and then move an application under section 167 of CrPC seeking his police remand.
The court has thereby directed ED to interrogate Chidambaram in Tihar Jail on October 16 after 8:30 am. Interrogation will take place as per the jail manual.
SG Tushar Mehta wanted to interrogate Chidambaram at some place in Rouse Avenue complex itself, but Kapil Sibal objected to the demand saying that the same would go against the dignity of the procedure.
Therefore, the judge asked ED to arrest Chidambaram tomorrow, interrogate him and then move an application for his police remand. The plea of Chidambaram under section 267 or CrPC will
Challenging the applications, Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal argued that ED cannot seek a separate police custody for the accused as he's already under judicial custody in the CBI case and the subject matter of both the cases arise from the same transaction. He argued
'money received through corruption is also proceeds of crime. Therefore, two separate remands cannot be sought'
Mr Sibal further argued that under section 267 of CrPC, accused cannot be called for the arrest and consequential remand in a matter arising from the same transaction, when he's already under judicial custody.
'It was mentioned in the order passed by this very court on the surrender application of Chidambaram, that nothing regarding the ED is pending before this court. There's nothing pending in this matter even now as no complaint has been filed so far', he argued.
Lastly, Mr Sibal noted that passing of the production order by the Special Judge on Friday without issuing notice to them violated their right under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Responding to his claims, SG Tushar Mehta submitted that PMLA is a special and distinct statute and the present application is filed for the offence of money laundering which is a separate offence from corruption. Therefore, the argument of the investigations by different agencies dealing with same transaction doesn't stand
It was also pointed out by SG that the investigation material relied upon by ED and CBI are different from each other.
It was further argued by SG that as pointed out in the judgement passed by the Supreme Court in Chidambaram's anticipatory bail matter, the requirement of custodial interrogation is necessary in this case.
Chidambaram had earlier moved an application to surrender in the present case which was disposed off on 13.09.2019 wherein it was observed that since the Investigating Officer was not willing to arrest the accused, the said application could not be entertained.
SG Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED, defended the stance taken by the agency in the previous hearing by submitting that at the time when the surrender application was moved the investigation was at a crucial stage and the ED needed more time to bring more substantial evidence and examine more witnesses.
Further it was submitted that since 06.09.2019, around 12 persons have been interrogated and hence the agency deems it appropriate to seek the custody of P Chidambaram.
It was also highlighted by the SG that both the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court, while hearing the plea for anticipatory bail of the accused, had noted the importance of custodial interrogation in the present case.
SG argued that the custodial interrogation is required to unravel the proceeds of crime which have been parked in the foreign countries