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Saturday, Dec 14, 2019

‘Between now and Friday…’: Chidambaram after his surprise visit to Cong HQ

The INX Media case, which pertains to the alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance to the media group for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 307 crore at a time Chidambaram was the Union finance minister.

india Updated: Aug 21, 2019 22:14 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress leader P Chidambaram during a press conference with party leaders Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi at AICC HQ, in New Delhi, Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019. The Delhi High Court on Tuesday refused to grant any protection from arrest to Chidambaram in the INX media case.
Congress leader P Chidambaram during a press conference with party leaders Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi at AICC HQ, in New Delhi, Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019. The Delhi High Court on Tuesday refused to grant any protection from arrest to Chidambaram in the INX media case. (Photo: PTI)
         

P Chidambaram, senior Congress leader with a lookout notice issued against him by investigating agencies in the INX media case, made an appearance at the Congress headquarters in Delhi with his lawyers and senior party leaders in attendance.

The embattled leader read out from a prepared statement countering the charges against him.

Read his complete statement here:

“I believe that the foundation of a democracy is liberty. The most precious Article of the Constitution of India is Article 21 that guarantees life and liberty. If I am asked to choose between life and liberty, I shall unhesitatingly choose liberty.

Why are the years up to 1947 called the years of freedom struggle? Because, to win freedom, we must struggle. To preserve freedom too, we must struggle.

In the last 24 hours much has happened that has caused concern to some and confusion to many. My statement today is to dispel that concern and confusion.

Watch: INX Media case: ‘Was not hiding,’ says Chidambaram at Congress HQ

 

In the INX Media case, I have not been accused of any offence. Nor has anyone else including any member of my family been accused of any offence. In fact, there is no charge sheet filed by either the CBI or ED before a competent court. Moreover, the FIR recorded by the CBI does not impute to me any wrongdoing. Yet, there is a widespread impression that grave offences have been committed and my son and I have committed those offences. Nothing can be further from the truth. These are lies spread by pathological liars.

When I was summoned by the CBI and then the ED to appear for questioning, I naturally sought interim protection against arrest from the competent court. I was granted interim protection by orders of the High Court dated 31st May 2018 and 25th July 2018.

I have enjoyed the interim protection for the last 13-15 months. The matters were finally heard on 25th July 2019 and judgment reserved. Now, after 7 months, yesterday, the High Court was pleased to dismiss the pre-arrest bail applications.

My lawyers, who are also my dear friends who are present here, advised me to move the Hon’ble Supreme Court. On my behalf, they did so yesterday evening and today. They appealed, repeatedly to the Hon’ble Supreme Court to list the appeals for hearing urgently and, in the meanwhile, grant me interim protection.

While my lawyers – all senior Counsels – were moving the Hon’ble Supreme Court, other lawyers and I worked through the night last night to prepare the papers. We completed the task only this morning and immediately filed the appeals in the Hon’ble Supreme Court. I was working alongside my lawyers the whole of last night. Today, throughout the day, I was with my lawyers following the proceedings in the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

I was aghast that I was accused of hiding from the law; on the contrary, I was seeking the protection of the law. I was accused of running away from justice; on the contrary I was engaged in the pursuit of justice.

My lawyers have told me that despite their impassioned pleas, the cases were not listed for hearing today, nor will they be listed tomorrow, but will be listed only on Friday. I bow down to the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

Between now and Friday, I shall walk with clear conscience and my head held high. I shall respect the law even if it is applied with an unequal hand by the investigating agencies. In the name of freedom, I can only hope and pray that the investigating agencies will also respect the law. In the present circumstances, respect for the law can mean only one thing – await the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court on Friday.

Some days ago, when I spoke in Parliament, I had said that every Judge in this country will uphold the liberty of a citizen. I had said that the collective conscience and the institutional memory of the court, as a venerable institution, will guide all Judges of the country. As much as I believe in liberty, I also believe in the wisdom of our Judges.

So, until Friday, and beyond, let us hope that the lamp of liberty will shine bright and illuminate the whole country.”