On Chidambaram’s arrest, Congress attacks CBI, ED calls them ‘revenge seeking departments’
The Congress on Thursday continued to rally around its veteran leader P Chidambaram who was arrested in the INX Media case late on Wednesday night, accusing the government of using the two federal agencies – Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate – as “personal revenge-seeking departments for parity in power”.
“The vindictive, selective and malicious manner in which former Finance Minister & Home Minister, Shri P Chidambaram has been persecuted and prosecuted is nothing short of a brazen personal and political vendetta,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said at a media briefing at the party headquarters.
Chidambaram had made a surprise appearance at the same venue to counter the perception that he was on the run or had anything to hide. The 73-year-old Congress leader was picked up by the CBI from his Jor Bagh house minutes after he reached home in the full glare of the cameras and placed under arrest soon after.
But before he submitted himself to the CBI, Chidambaram stressed that he was innocent. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala kept the attacks coming at Thursday morning’s briefing.
“Over the last two days India witnessed the broad daylight murder of democracy and the rule of law by a Government hell-bent upon using CBI and ED as personal revenge-seeking departments for the party in power,” Surjewala said.
The INX Media case relates to alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to the media group for receiving foreign investment to the tune of R305 crore in 2007, when Chidambaram was finance minister.
The CBI registered a first information report on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the manner the clearance had been awarded and the ED filed a money laundering case a year later
INX Media co-founders Peter Mukerjea and his wife Indrani Mukerjea have been charged with entering into a criminal conspiracy with Karti Chidambaram to get foreign investment approvals and evade punitive measures for not having the necessary approvals from FIPB.
For an offence that took place nearly a decade ago, Surjewala said, the authorities had been unable to come out with any clear or precise allegation or a compelling case against Chidambaram.
“This leads to only one unmistakable conclusion – false charges are being heaped upon senior political rivals to silence anyone and everyone in the country,” he said.