Home minister P Chidambaram broke his silence on Friday, as the Opposition chorus for his ouster grew louder.
The BJP accused Chidambaram of being instrumental in directing the police to withdraw cheating and forgery cases against his former client, SP Gupta, chief of Sunair Hotels.
Brushing aside the charge of conflict of interest, he insisted that he did not order the withdrawal of cases, he said, "I feel deeply hurt. I strongly reject completely unfounded allegations of BJP."
Chidambaram — flanked by home secretary RK Singh and his predecessor, GK Pillai — presented his defence at the home ministry on Friday, as he was not allowed to speak in Parliament by the Opposition.
"This is a most ridiculous charge, he said, adding that he can't have life-long interest in the over 25,000 cases he had represented as a lawyer during the last four decades.
Senior home ministry officials clarified that the final letter sent to the Delhi government did appear to be giving directions on the cases against Gupta, contrary to the home minister's explicit instruction.