New Delhi: Former union minister P Chidambaram has hit out at the way the name of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi was linked by the Enforcement Directorate to the AgustaWestland case and lashed out at the “media trial in the case”.
In a series of tweets, the senior Congress leader said that if the government, the ED and the media have their way, cases will be tried on TV channels in this country.
“Further, the Criminal Procedure Code and the Evidence Act will not apply. What ED says will be oral evidence, any piece of paper ED produces will be documentary evidence, and what the TV channel pronounces will be the judgment,” he tweeted.
“Even kangaroo courts hold trials in a courtroom. Our new 'improved' system will surpass kangaroo courts and deliver justice on TV channels,” he added.
Chidambaram’s remarks came after the ED told a Delhi court on Saturday that during the questioning, alleged midddleman Christian Michel had taken “Mrs Gandhi’s” name in reference to a query, but had later managed to hand over a chit to his lawyer seeking directions on “what to say” if asked follow-up questions about her.
The ED said that on December 27, when the statement of Michel was being recorded, the accused turned towards his lawyer and secretly handed over a folded paper to his counsel while shaking hands.
The ED deputy director noticed this and perusal of the folded paper revealed that it pertained to a set of questions “on Mrs Gandhi,” ED said in its plea.
“It is clear that there is a conspiracy to shield and/or tamper with the evidence that could be brought forth from the questioning of the accused. The benefit given by the court to… Michel of legal access is being misused and needs to be discontinued,” ED added.
In another submission, the ED counsel said that the agency needs to decipher who was the ‘big man’ referred to as ‘R’ is in the communication between Christian Michel and other people.
The developments led to a political slugfest, with Congress accusing the Modi government of using probe agencies to put pressure on Michel to identify and target one family. Calling it a fixed match, party spokesperson RPN Singh said BJP was scrambling for real issues as the elections were drawing near and was attempting to target one family to divert attention for the issues that mattered.
“We have seen what BJP has been doing in this matter. In fact, one of the television channels showed how there is pressure on Christian to name a particular family,” Singh said.
BJP, on the other hand, launched a sharp attack on Congress’ ‘first’ family, claiming ED’s statement pointed towards their involvement in the UPA-era chopper scam.