Will Choose Liberty over Life, Says Chidambaram after Dramatic Appearance at AICC Headquarters
Chidambaram put up a strong defence of himself and his family members, saying none of them has been accused of any offence by the probe agencies.
Congress leader P Chidambaram addresses a press conference with party leaders Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi at AICC headquarters in New Delhi on Wednesday. (PTI)
New Delhi: Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, wanted in a money laundering case, made a dramatic appearance at a press conference in the Congress headquarters on Wednesday evening, and asked probe agencies to "respect" the law and wait till Friday when the Supreme Court hears his bail plea.
Facing arrest after Supreme Court refused to hear his urgent plea for bail in the INX media case, Chidambaram put up a strong defence of himself and his family members, saying none of them has been accused of any offence by the probe agencies. Chidambaram was arrested from home later.
"I am aghast that I was accused of hiding from the law," said Chidambaram, rejecting allegations that he was evading investigating agencies, adding he was working with his lawyers through Tuesday night, preparing his papers for his bail application.
"I have not been accused of any wrongdoing in the INX media case. If I am asked to choose between life and liberty, I will unhesitatingly choose liberty," Chidambaram said.
"Respect for law can mean only one thing, wait for Supreme Court justice on Friday," he said, suggesting that the probe agencies should not arrest him until the apex court decides on his bail plea. "Until Friday and beyond, let's hope the lamp of liberty will shine bright and illuminate the whole country. I will respect law even if applied with an unequal hand by probe agencies," he said, reading out from a hand-written statement.
He did not take any question from journalists.
Flanked by his party colleagues and senior lawyers — Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi — who are also representing him in the cases, Chidambaram said there is no charge sheet filed by either the CBI or the ED before a competent court. He also said the FIR recorded by the CBI does not impute him of any wrongdoing.
"Yet there is a widespread impression that grave offences have been committed by me and that my son and I have committed that offences. Nothing can be further from the truth. These are lies spread by pathological liars," he said, adding that he was granted interim protection by the high court.
Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel, Mallikarjun Kharge, Salman Khurshid and Vivek Tankha were beside Chidambaram at the party headquarters.
Immediately after reading out his brief statement, the former finance minister left for his Jor Bagh residence. A large number of Congress workers had gathered at the party headquarters and raised slogans against the government and probe agencies.
"I believe that the foundation of a democracy is liberty, most precious article of the Constitution is Article 21 that guarantees life and liberty. If I'm asked to choose between life and liberty, I shall unhesitatingly choose liberty," he said. "To win freedom we must struggle. To preserve freedom too we must struggle."
(With inputs from agencies)
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