Chidambaram arrested after a day-long drama

Officials of the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate arrested former finance minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram from his Jor Bagh residence, last night in New Delhi, after a day-long major political drama, over the INX Media money-laundering case.

The officials of the investigating agencies, accompanied by the Delhi police, reached his residence at around 8.50 pm after Chidambaram, who had gone “missing” for the past 24 hours, made a sudden appearance at the AICC headquarters.

The ED and CBI are all set to expand the scope of the investigation and probe his granting allegedly illegal FIPB clearances to other firms and receiving kickbacks through shell companies.

Things might get somewhat tricky for the former finance minister as jailed Indrani Mukerjea, one of the promoters of INX Media and co-accused in the money-laundering case, has reportedly turned approver and given crucial information on Chidamabaram’s alleged role in the money-laundering.

Chidambaram was taken to the CBI headquarters late on Wednesday night, and is expected to be produced in court on Thursday. The CBI is likely to put the former finance minister through a lie detector test.

With his arrest, Chidambaram’s anticipatory bail petition, listed for hearing on Friday in the Supreme Court, becomes infructous, and he will now have to apply for regular bail. This bail application will have to be heard by a trial court.

Jostling through journalists and photographers gathered outside Chidambaram’s house at 115-A Jor Bagh, CBI officials had to climb over the walls to enter the premises as the former minister’s staff refused to open the gates.

The huge team of officials and the Delhi police team virtually took over the premises and opened the gates for other security personnel to enter. The CBI then got a car inside the premises, in which they later whisked away the former minister at around 9.45 pm.

As the CBI prepared to take Chidambaram into custody, Congress workers raising slogans reached his residence and a short scuffle broke out between them and the police.  An unidentified person who suddenly appeared at the scene shouting “Chidambaram chor hain” was thrashed by the Congress workers. He was later rescued from the mob by the police.

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