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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

‘Shall walk with a clear conscience and head held high’: Chidambaram

Former finance minister P Chidambaram said he would expect the law enforcement agencies to wait till the Supreme Court decides his appeal against the Delhi High Court order cancelling protection against arrest in the INX media case

india Updated: Aug 21, 2019 22:18 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
P Chidambaram read out a statement explaining his stance vis-a-vis the look out notice issued against him by the ED and CBI
P Chidambaram read out a statement explaining his stance vis-a-vis the look out notice issued against him by the ED and CBI(HT Photo)
         

Former finance minister P Chidambaram, who addressed an unusual news conference late on Wednesday evening before heading to his Delhi home, delivered a strong rebuttal to the many allegations levelled at him over the last 24 hours. He also expressed the hope that the CBI and the ED, which had sent teams to his house, would not act against him before the Supreme Court hears his petition.

“Between now and Friday, I shall walk with a 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 only mean one thing, await the decision of the Supreme Court on Friday,” Chidambaram said.

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

 

The senior Congress leader also made a case for protecting “liberty” which was the “foundation of democracy,” according to him.

“Until Friday and beyond, let’s hope the lamp of liberty will shine bright and illuminate the whole country,” Chidambaram said, flanked by senior Congress leaders and lawyers like Kapil Sibal and Salman Khursheed at the Congress headquarters, while making his statement.

The start of his press conference set the tone for his message with an emphasis on liberty. “I believe the foundation of the 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... To win freedom, we must struggle, to preserve freedom too, we must struggle” he stated at the beginning of his statement.

Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate had issued look out notices against P Chidambaram after the former minister didn’t show up as requested in a notice issued last evening.

CBI had registered an FIR in the case on May 15, 2017 alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to INX media group for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during P Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister.

Thereafter, ED also lodged the money laundering case against the company’s founders, the Mukerjeas, and others under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Karti Chidambaram was arrested on February 28, 2018 by the CBI on his return from the United Kingdom.

Chidambaram faced a major setback on Tuesday when the Delhi High Court dismissed his anticipatory bail plea in corruption and money laundering case related to alleged INX Media scam.

Following this, the Congress leader filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court against the High Court order seeking pre-arrest bail.

The CBI and the ED had also filed a caveat petition in the Supreme Court over Chidambaram’s plea seeking protection from arrest.