‘Log destroyed, hotel entries catch PC lie’
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.
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.