Terming the arrest of Congress leader and former Union finance minister P Chidambaram as “monstrous injustice”, N Ram, Chairman, The Hindu Group of Publications said on Sunday (September 15) that the former MP was jailed without any material evidence against him in the INX Media case.
Besides the statement of “murder accused” (Indrani and Peter Mukherjea), there is no evidence against him, Ram was quoted as saying by The Hindu. He was speaking at a meeting of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee in Chennai to condemn Chidambaram’s arrest.
Further stating that the only intention behind orchestrating his arrest was to deny him liberty as long as possible, Ram said, “Unfortunately the highest courts of the land have fallen victim to this.”
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Also pointing out that the judgement in Chidambaram’s case was reserved for seven months, he said, “The judgment came out depriving Chidambaram of any opportunity to appeal. There are many factual mistakes in the order by Justices Banumathi and Bopanna rejecting bail. For example, they say P Chidambaram’s assets have been confiscated — [this is] completely wrong.”
Ram added that there was no threat of documents being suppressed or to any witness. “It is a great shame that justice was not delivered in this case. A review petition must be moved before the same bench or a curative petition that will go before five judges,” Ram said.
Meanwhile, legal news portal Bar and Bench too echoed a similar view, saying that Chidambaram’s implication in the INX Media case “appears to be based on the solitary statement of a murder accused while she was in judicial custody.”
In an article titled ‘The P Chidambaram Bail Saga: Are the Courts writing a new law?’, Shobha Gupta, an advocate practising at the Supreme Court, argued that while the statement of the “murder accused” were not believed by the court and that she was denied bail despite claiming innocence, the same person became valuable for the probe agencies to investigate allegations against the Congress leader.
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“As a normal rule, any person has to be treated innocent until proven guilty and can be booked in any case only if there is any prima facie evidence,” the writer said while pointing out that Chidambaram was “booked on the basis of a solitary statement of a co-accused, who is also the main accused in a murder case in which trial is ongoing.”
Another aspect, the article said, is that two prosecuting agencies have registered two separate cases on virtually the same allegations.
It further pointed out that while the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been seeking custodial interrogation of Chidambaram before the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court, it has not yet taken him into custody. While Chidambaram filed an application for surrender and offered his custody, the article said, the ED opposed his plea saying it does not want his custody now.
74 years younger: Chidambaram’s message on his birthday
My thoughts today are about the economy. Just one statistic tells the story. Export growth in August was -6.05%.
No country has achieved GDP growth of 8% without exports growing at 20% a year.
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) September 16, 2019
Meanwhile, the Congress leader, who turned 74 on Monday, said that greetings from well-wishers made him feel “74 years young”. “My family have brought me greetings from friends, party colleagues and well-wishers. I am reminded that I am 74 years old. Indeed I am, but at heart I feel 74 years young,” Chidambaram’s family posted his message on behalf of him on Twitter.
In another tweet, he said that his thoughts are about the country’s economy and that only one statistic tells the story. “Just one statistic tells the story. Export growth in August was -6.05%. No country has achieved GDP growth of 8% without exports growing at 20% a year. May God bless this country,” he added.
(With inputs from agencies)