- P Chidambaram taken in a police van to Delhi’s Tihar Jail
- Mr Chidambaram, 74, will be in Jail number seven, Ward nine
- CBI accuses him of misusing position when he was Finance Minister
Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram was on Thursday taken in a police van to Delhi’s Tihar Jail, which he and his legal team had fought hard to avoid. A court ordered that he be sent to judicial custody in the INX Media case, which meant that from a guest-room in the CBI headquarters, his living quarters for the next two weeks would be a cell in Asia’s largest prison complex.
Mr Chidambaram, 74, will be in Jail number seven, Ward nine. Jail Number 7 houses 600-700 inmates, the majority of whom are jailed for crimes against women, though the block has traditionally been used to house economic offenders. Since he has Z-level security, the CBI court agreed to his lawyer Kapil Sibal’s request for special facilities. These include a separate cell, a cot (prisoners usually sleep on the floor), a bathroom with western-style facilities, security and medicines.
Shortly after the court order, the former minister was taken in a Delhi police convoy to Tihar, which had reportedly prepped for the contingency ever since his arrest on August 21. Mr Chidambaram was seen in visuals sitting alone in the van, waving at the media through a barred window, a smile firmly in place.
On being asked about any specific preparations, Director General of Prisons, Sandeep Goyal told news agency IANS: “A jail is a jail. We only follow the court’s orders. No one lodged in a jail is special.”
He said Mr Chidambaram would be treated like a normal prisoner.
Mr Chidambaram will also have to eat the jail’s ‘dal-roti‘ in plastic utensils or he can get food from the jail canteen. He will also be required to attend early morning prayers like all other inmates.
During his 15-day CBI custody, Mr Chidambaram was asked more than 400 questions over 90 hours. He was not questioned only in the last two days, said sources. He was also reportedly confronted with five witnesses.
The CBI accuses Mr Chidambaram of misusing his position as Finance Minister of the country in 2007 while facilitating a huge infusion of foreign funds in INX Media at the instance of his son Karti Chidambaram.
Mr Chidambaram and his son were named by INX Media co-founders Peter Mukerjea and Indrani Mukerjea, who are currently jailed in Mumbai in connection with the murder of Indrani’s daughter Sheena Bora.