A court on Monday sent senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram to judicial custody till March 24 in the INX Media corruption case.
The court also rejected Karti Chidambaram's plea seeking allotment of a separate prison in Tihar Jail saying that in view of social status of the accused and his father, he cannot be treated different from the other accused. After the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told Special Judge Sunil Rana that they did not require further custody of Karti Chidambaram, the court remanded him to judicial custody.
Karti Chidambaram was arrested in February for allegedly taking money to facilitate Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media in 2007 when his father was the Finance Minister in the United Progressive Alliance government. Defence counsels Dayan Krishnan and Mohit Mathur told the court that Karti Chidambaram's father has dealt with various stringent penal laws such as TADA, MCOCA, Unlawful (Activities) Prevention Act and NDPS Act.
Various undertrials facing prosecution under the mentioned laws were lodged in Tihar Jail where Karti Chidambaram will be lodged during his period of judicial custody, hence there was fear over his security. The defence counsels requested the court to issue direction regarding allotment of separate prison during his judicial custody.
CBI's counsel V.K. Sharma submitted that apprehension of accused is without any basis as accused has regularly been visiting abroad. Stressed on Karti Chidambaram's visits, he said that if the accused did not face any threat then, how did he now fear it in the jail, where there is deployment of large number of security personnel.
Reacting to the probe agency's submission, defence counsel said that there is serious apprehension of threat to Karti Chidambaram's life as CBI is opposing his plea seeking security arrangements in Tihar Jail. Citing example of biscuit baron Rajan Pillai's death in custody, Karti Chidambaram's counsel raised concerns that there is pre-planned conspiracy "to do something to his client while he is being lodged in jail".
Observing the counsel's submission, the court said that the apprehension raised by senior counsel of the accused cannot be ignored keeping in view his social status, but more specifically, due to his father's, who is former a Union Minister. "Only keeping in view the fact of social status of accused and his father, he cannot be treated different from other accused persons and cannot be allowed to be kept in a separate prison," the court said.
However, the court directed the lock-up in-charge and jail superintendent of Tihar Jail to provide and ensure proper safety and security to accused during the judicial custody as per rules. The court allowed Karti's plea to carry spectacles and medicines, as per prescription subject to examination and approval by jail doctor, as per rules.
However the court rejected the plea seeking to carry books, toilettries, clothes and others.