P Chidambaram sent to Tihar, will have to spend his 75th birthday in jail


Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram was sent to Tihar Jail on Thursday after suffering a huge setback in the Supreme Court, which refused to entertain his plea for protection from the arrest by the Enforcement Directorate.

P Chidambaram
Photo: The Hindu

Chidambaram, who was arrested by the CBI on 21 August on charges of facilitating money laundering in the INX Media case, will have to spend his time in Tihar until 19 September. This effectively means that the veteran Congress leader, who enjoys Z-security cover, will have to celebrate his 75th birthday inside the Tihar jail. Chidambaram’s Congress colleague and lawyer Kapil Sibal requested Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar for a separate cell for him, a cot, a western toilet. The judge granted his request considering his Z-security cover.

Earlier on Thursday, Chidambaram’s lawyers unsuccessfully argued for an anticipatory bail in the Supreme Court. The top court said that his was not a fit case for anticipatory bail.

Chidambaram has been kept in jail number 7, which has nearly 700 inmates with a majority of them being held for crimes against women. Chidambaram will have to eat in plastic utensils and attend morning prayers along with other inmates.

While being taken to Tihar, Chidambaram was asked for his reaction. To which, he said that he was only concerned by the economy.

Reacting to his father’s judicial custody till 19 September, Karti Chidambaram said, “I don’t see any merit in the judicial custody, particularly for the events which has happened 11 years ago. They (CBI) are still nowhere close even of filing a charge sheet. I hope that I will have my father back home very quickly.”

The CBI had on 21 August arrested former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in a dramatic sequence of events after CBI officials jumped the gate of his residence in Jor Bagh in Delhi. Also joining the CBI personnel were officials from the Enforcement Directorate. Since then, he’s been in CBI custody.

Chidambaram is accused of facilitating the huge flow of foreign funds in INX Media when he was the country’s finance minister at the request of his son Karti Chidambaram. Karti is alleged to have received kickbacks in the case. Karti was arrested and sent to Tihar Jail earlier this year.