The arrest was made under the provisions of the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act and his statement was recorded.
New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday arrested former Union finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram over its money-laundering probe into the INX Media case. The senior Congress leader was arrested by ED sleuths at Tihar jail after two hours of questioning on Wednesday. Immediately after his arrest, the ED filed a plea before special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar seeking 14-day custodial interrogation of the 74-year-old Congress leader.
The court, issuing a production warrant against Mr Chidambaram in the ED case, said it will take up the remand plea on Thursday when his judicial custody expires in the corruption case filed by the CBI. The court directed the jail authorities to produce Mr Chidambaram on Thursday at 3 pm. CBI sources said it is all set to file a chargesheet in the corruption case where it is likely to name Mr Chidambaram and his son Karti.
The ED sleuths followed due procedure after Mr Kuhar allowed it to interrogate Mr Chidambaram in jail and arrest him, if necessary, sources in the agency said. A three-member team of investigators, which arrived at the prison at 8.15 am, remained in the premises for about two hours during which they briefly questioned Mr Chidambaram after he was put under arrest. The arrest was made under the provisions of the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act and his statement was recorded.
The former minister was questioned by the ED officials in this case many times in the past but it had never arrested Mr Chidambaram as he enjoyed a court-issued order directing the agency not to take any coercive step like arrest. Sources said Mr Chidambaram will now be confronted with some fresh evidence, obtained from offshore jurisdictions, and with the statement of other accused in the case. The statements by the accountant of Karti and others will be put across to him, sources said. It is learnt that the ED investigating officer will seek answers from Mr Chidambaram on certain foreign assets linked to his family including those attached by it in the name of Karti.
The ED had in October last year attached assets worth Rs 54 crores of Karti in India, Britain and Spain under the PMLA. The ED is also working to file its first chargesheet in the case. The ED had filed a criminal case under the PMLA in 2017 to probe alleged irregularities in the grant of FIPB approval to the INX Media Group. INX Media got its FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) approvals in 2007-08 when Mr Chidambaram was the Union finance minister.