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Political Vendetta, Says Congress After CBI Team Lands Up at Chidambaram's Delhi Residence

Refusing to grant him anticipatory bail, the Delhi High Court said Chidambaram appears to be the 'kingpin' in the INX media case and needs to be interrogated in custody for the investigation to be effective.


Updated:August 20, 2019, 11:58 PM IST
Political Vendetta, Says Congress After CBI Team Lands Up at Chidambaram's Delhi Residence
ED officials at the residence of Congress leader P Chidambaram in Delhi's Jor Bagh area on Tuesday evening. (PTI)

New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday questioned the actions of probe agencies against former Finance Minister P Chidambaram soon after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the Delhi High Court, and said what was the tearing hurry when the Supreme Court was slated to hear his appeal on Wednesday morning.

He also accused the government of targeting opposition leaders and termed the action of probe agencies against Chidambaram as "political vendetta".

Hours after the Delhi High Court refused to grant any protection from arrest to Chidambaram, a team of CBI officers landed at his posh Jor Bagh residence to locate him, but left after not finding the former union minister there, officials said.

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday refused to grant him anticipatory bail, saying he seems to be the "kingpin" and "key conspirator" in the INX media case of money laundering and he needs to be interrogated in custody for the investigation to be effective.

Holding that the INX media scam was a "classic case of money laundering", the court also said the twin facts which have weighed to deny pre-arrest bail to Chidambaram are "gravity" of the offence and "evasive" replies given by him to questions put to him while he was under protective cover extended to him by the court.

Reacting to the development, Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma said, "We fail to understand what is going to happen in the night. Heavens are not going to open up. Mr Chidambaram is an eminent person and a law-abiding citizen. What we have been witnessing in the last few years is selective targeting and politics of vendetta, mainly against the leaders of the opposition."

He said it is not the Congress leaders alone, as leaders of various non-BJP parties like the Trinamool Congress, RJD, SP, DMK and some others have been targeted.

"It is a long list. As if the BJP, when there were serious allegations against their own leaders, including its chief ministers, who are in office, the same agencies go silent on them," he said.

Sharma said some of the leaders belonging to non-BJP parties like Mukul Roy and Himanta Biswa Sharma, who were being investigated, "the moment they defected and joined the BJP there is not even a whisper".

"So there cannot be double standards, it is so glaring. This is not a good image for this country. Mr Chidambaram has been cooperating and joining the investigation as and when he was required. There has not been an occasion when he has not presented himself, so why this tearing hurry tonight. The government and the agencies should also respect the Supreme Court, have faith and wait for the hearing tomorrow," he said.

Sharma said the manner in which the CBI teams and personnel have descended on his residence raises fundamental questions, as the Chief Justice of India had said it will be heard Wednesday morning and they should wait for the final order.

"It is only a cancellation of bail, not of conviction. It is not a heinous crime. It is an alleged economic offence," he said.

He, however, said he cannot comment on what the court will do, "but yes going by the facts as they are on record, there is no reason why relief should not be given".

The Congress leader said the case before the High Court was only for anticipatory bail for Chidambaram.

"Chidambaram had approached the court for anticipatory bail, which is his right, and the court has not accepted that. The case is appealable. The application has already been moved and an SLP has also been filed before the Supreme Court. The Court is going to hear that tomorrow morning," he said.

Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said there was no cause for Chidambaram to abscond as he has been appearing for every summon issued to him by the probe agencies and cooperating.

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