Former finance minister P Chidambaram was picked up from his private residence in Delhi yesterday night by the CBI and later formally arrested, capping a day-long drama that started with a battery of lawyers knocking at the doors of the Supreme Court seeking anticipatory bail for him.
But, with the Supreme Court declining to immediately hear the matter and posting it for Friday, the former minister turned up at the Congress headquarters after a 24-hour hiatus where, flanked by his party colleagues Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Ahmed Patel and Salman Khurshid, he played the victim card.
The day had back to back turning points which changed the course of the case drastically. Here's a timeline of how the day progressed:
10:30 AM: Chidambaram file SLP through sr lawyer Kapil Sibal seeking relief from arrest.
10:40 AM: Let CJI decide, Justice NV Ramana tells Sibal
10:50 AM: CJI begins hearing Ayodhya case, no mention of Chidambaram's SLP
11:00 AM: ED issues lookout notice against Chidambaram
12 Noon: Registry points out a defect in the petition
02: 00 PM: Sibal moves Justice Ramana for urgent hearing
02:20 PM: Registrar called in, says the petition is defective
02:25 PM: Sibal rectifies the defect. Registrar agrees to send it for listing before CJI
05:00 PM: Sibal informed by Registrar case will be heard Friday
06:00 PM: CBI issues lookout notice against Chidambaram
08:10 PM: Chidambaram appears at Congress HQ, addresses media
08:20 PM: Chidambaram leaves for his Jor Bagh residence
08:30 PM: CBI team reaches Congress HQ
09:00 PM: CBI and ED team at Chidambaram's home
Post 10 PM: Chidambaram formally arrested
After his arrest at his residence, the former minister was taken to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital where a medical examination was done, sources said.
In the INX Media case, Chidambaram is accused of facilitating foreign investment in a media company when he was the Finance Minister at the instance of his son Karti Chidambaram, who is accused of receiving kickbacks. Both the father and son have denied any wrongdoing.
The agency had been seeking Chidambaram's "custodial interrogation" in the case pertaining to alleged irregularities in the grant of foreign investment clearances to INX Media when he was the finance minister.
They said Chidambaram was summoned last year for questioning in the case but he remained evasive in his responses.
The CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the INX media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram's tenure as finance minister.
Thereafter, the ED lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2018.
The CBI is expected to produce him on Thursday before a designated CBI special court, where it is likely to seek his remand for further questioning.
(With inputs from agencies and ENS)