Family Challenges Govt to Produce 'Shred of Evidence' as Chidambaram Moves Fresh Plea in SC
Further rejecting the Enforcement Directorate (ED)’s charge on foreign bank accounts and assets, former Union finance minister P Chidambaram said he feared the use of “coercive methods” by the agency if taken into custody.
File photo of former finance minister P Chidambaram.
New Delhi: Hours after the Supreme Court extended former Union finance minister P Chidambaram’s protection from arrest for another day in the INX Media money laundering case, the senior Congress leader filed a new affidavit in the apex court.
Blaming the present political dispensation for stage managing action against him, the Rajya Sabha MP said, “I am being targeted and persecuted. Allegations are being made against me to destroy my reputation.”
Further rejecting the Enforcement Directorate (ED)’s charge on foreign bank accounts and assets, Chidambaram said he feared the use of “coercive methods” by the agency if taken into custody. In the rejoinder affidavit, he said that he couldn’t be sent to remand to let the agency extract desirable statements from him. “The ED can’t get a free hand.” “I am not the beneficial owner or creator/incorporator of any foreign company,” he added.
Earlier, a bench of Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna said it would hear the arguments of the ED on Chidambaram’s two petitions, including the challenge to remand orders, on Wednesday.
Dubbing the case as 'chapters plucked out of ghost stories, Chidambaram's family challenged the government to produce a 'shred of evidence' to corroborate the allegations.
"We are a small family possessed of enough wealth. We are all income tax assesses. We do not crave for money and we don’t seek money in unlawful ways. We are therefore astounded by allegations of properties in multiple countries, multiple bank accounts, numerous shell companies, etc," the family said in the statement.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, filed an application seeking direction to the ED to produce the transcripts of the questioning conducted on December 19 last year and January 1 and January 21 this year in the case. The transcripts will show whether Chidambaram was evasive during his questioning, as alleged by the ED, Sibal said. "They are just producing documents at random and saying this is part of the case diary," Sibal said, adding, "They cannot place the documents behind the back and seek custody of accused."
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, also appearing for Chidambaram, referred to the constitutional and legal provisions and said that fundamental right of citizens under Article 21 (right to life and personal liberty) cannot be suspended.
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