Updated: August 21, 2019 1:31:43 pm
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Wednesday rallied behind former finance minister P Chidambaram, saying the government is misusing central agencies to “character assassinate” the former union minister. Chidambaram, who was denied anticipatory bail Tuesday, faces arrest in two cases of alleged corruption and money laundering linked to INX Media.
“Modi’s Govt is using the ED, CBI & sections of a spineless media to character assassinate Mr Chidambaram. I strongly condemn this disgraceful misuse of power,” he tweeted.
Modi’s Govt is using the ED, CBI & sections of a spineless media to character assassinate Mr Chidambaram.
I strongly condemn this disgraceful misuse of power.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 21, 2019
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued a fresh lookout circular against the former union minister. They said the alert notice against the Congress leader has been sent to all land, air and seaports and law enforcement agencies at these facilities.
Earlier today, Chidambaram filed an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging the High Court order dismissing his petition for pre-arrest bail in the INX Media case. Chidambaram submitted in his petition that the high court’s observation that he was the “kingpin” in the INX Media case was completely baseless and that the FIR was “politically motivated and an act of vendetta”. The bench headed by Justice N V Ramana has sent the matter to Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
The Congress party has voiced its support for Chidambaram, with party leader Priyanka Gandhi alleging he was being “shamefully hunted down” because he “unhesitatingly speaks truth to power and exposes the failures of this government”.
“A government that persecutes its citizens for speaking truth to power is only reiterating its own cowardly nature…We stand by his quest for truth no matter what,” read a tweet by the party’s official Twitter handle.
A govt that persecutes its citizens for speaking truth to power is only reiterating its own cowardly nature. @PChidambaram_IN is an extremely qualified & respected leader, he has served this nation with dedication & humility. We stand by his quest for truth no matter what.
— Congress (@INCIndia) August 21, 2019
Officers from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED, which are investigating the cases, reached Chidambaram’s residence in Delhi today. On Tuesday evening, the CBI had issued a notice to Chidambaram asking him to appear before the investigation officer “within two hours”, after failing to find him at his residence.
The former minister is also under investigation in another case — alleged corruption in the Aircel-Maxis deal — but was granted protection from arrest by a trial court in the case lodged by CBI and ED.
On May 15, 2017, the CBI registered an FIR, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board’s (FIPB) clearance for INX Media to receive overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister in the UPA government. Last year, the ED lodged a money laundering case.