Former finance minister P Chidambaram, who is currently in CBI’s custody, took a jibe at the government on Tuesday over the growth rate of 5 per cent in April to June quarter.
The Congress leader, who appeared before special CBI court in Rouse Avenue today, refused to answer when a reporter asked him if he wants to say anything about his custody. He, however, only said, “5 per cent”.
“Five per cent. What is 5 per cent? You remember 5 per cent?” he responded with a smiling face, mocking the government after the GDP slumped to an over six-year low.
According to government data, the economic growth slowed to a seven-year low to 5 per cent in April to June quarter from 8 per cent a year ago.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered maintenance of status quo in the INX Media case and directed extension of Chidambaram’s CBI custody till September 5. Later, the trial court complied with the apex court’s directions and extended the Congress leader’s custody.
During the course of the proceedings, the counsel appearing for the investigating agency submitted before a bench of Justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna that they do not want his custody, indicating that he should be sent to Tihar jail.
The bench was hearing the petition filed by the Congress leader challenging his CBI custody.
Chidambaram’s lawyers — Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi — told the court that they will not press the petition for interim bail in the trial court until the apex court passes the order on September 5.
Chidambaram was sent to CBI custody by the trial court for one day, yesterday.
After the Delhi High Court rejected Chidambaram’s anticipatory bail plea on August 20, he was arrested and sent to the CBI’s custody. He has already been subjected to custodial interrogation by the agency for 12 days since then.
Chidambaram is facing probe in cases registered by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) pertaining to alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to INX Media to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when he was the Union finance minister.
The ED is also seeking his custodial interrogation related to money laundering allegations.
The Supreme Court, however, has granted him interim protection from arrest by the ED till September 5.