Former finance minister P Chidambaram on Saturday dismissed as “irresponsible” minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju’s charge that in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government worked in “tandem” with the terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).
“We were having breakfast with them (LeT) and then invited them over dinner too. These are irresponsible statements,” he retorted. In an interview to India Today, Rijiju had alleged that the UPA government had worked in tandem with the LeT in the Ishrat Jahan case.
Asked about the way accused in cases such as Malegaon blasts were being acquitted, Chidambaram said, “Of course there is a pattern in it”. The senior Congress leader said a book released on Friday also hinted at the pattern. “How can witnesses suddenly turn hostile after new government comes in?” he asked.
In an apparent reference to late Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare, who had investigated the cases, Chidambaram ridiculed attempts to tarnish the memory of a “martyred” police officer known for his impeccable record and honesty.
“Those who have heart and conscience must read Julio Ribeiro’s passionate article which appeared in one of the newspapers a few days ago. If Ribeiro’s article did not move our hearts nothing else will,” he said.
The Congress leader said social tension and high growth do not go together. “Unless there is social peace and harmony, unless there is stability for the workers, unless minorities, Dalits and farmers feel secure, we will not whole-heartedly participate in producing goods and services. No country which has recurrent social tension has achieved high growth,” he said.