‘Log de­stroyed, ho­tel en­tries catch PC lie’

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Nation - Ab­hi­nav.Garg @times­group.com

New Delhi: CBI on Fri­day re­but­ted ex-fi­nance min­is­ter P Chi­dambaram’s claim that he had never met In­drani Mukher­jea, co-founder of the INX

Me­dia group and key wit­ness in the cor­rup­tion case.

Ap­pear­ing for

CBI, solic­i­tor gen­eral Tushar Me­hta told

Jus­tice Suresh Kait that Chi­dambaram had met In­drani and the probe has re­vealed that the visi­tors reg­is­ter at the of­fice of the then fi­nance min­is­ter was de­stroyed due to “lapse of time” by 2017 when the FIR was reg­is­tered. How­ever, en­tries at the ho­tel where In­drani and her hus­band Peter stayed — in­clud­ing de­tails of the ho­tel ve­hi­cle that took the cou­ple to Chi­dambaram’s of­fice on March 9, 2007 — was avail­able, he added. CBI has re­lied on In­drani’s state­ment that she and Peter met Chi­dambaram at his of­fice where dis­cus­sions were held on grant of FIPB ap­proval to INX Me­dia. It was also con­veyed to them that they will have to “take care of his son”.

Me­hta’s state­ment came after Chi­dambaram’s lawyer Kapil Sibal told Jus­tice Kait that he had re­ceived in­struc­tions from his client to clar­ify that he never met In­drani. “I (Chi­dambaram) have never met In­drani Mukher­jea at any place. It is 100% de­nied. The log­book will have the en­try of visi­tors, I will go by the log­book,” he said, adding that hun­dreds of del­e­ga­tions come to meet the fi­nance min­is­ter and he had no rec­ol­lec­tion on INX Me­dia’s team.

In­sist­ing that Chi­dambaram was a “flight risk”, Me­hta said, “The co-con­spir­a­tor has de­stroyed ma­te­rial ev­i­dence, and there is ev­i­dence to this. If re­leased on bail, Chi­dambaram is most likely to in­flu­ence wit­nesses and he has po­ten­tial, means and power to do it.”

CBI also took um­brage at var­i­ous tweets put out on be­half of Chi­dambaram, who has been in cus­tody since Au­gust 21. “This shows... an at­tempt to in­flu­ence the case and the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. In­flu­en­tial peo­ple are try­ing to in­flu­ence the pro­ceed­ings against them by us­ing so­cial me­dia,” Me­hta con­tended.

The court on Fri­day fin­ished hear­ing the ar­gu­ments on Chi­dambaram’s bail pe­ti­tion.

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