In a major development in INX media case, the CBI on Tuesday pressed for custodial interrogation of former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram. It happened hours after the Delhi High Court granted temporary protection to Chidambaram from any coercive action. The CBI, in its affidavit, has opposed to any kind of relief being given to former finance minister and demanded his custody. CBI said it is necessary because Chidambaram “chose to remain evasive and did not cooperate with the investigating agency.” The CBI, in its affidavit in INX media case, said, “The material collected so far and the intensity and the gravity of the offence which is unfolding requires custodial interrogation of the petitioner (Chidambaram) which is quantitatively different. The investigating agency has reached bona fide conclusion that in the absence of any custodial interrogation, it will not be possible to reach to the truth of the allegations as the petitioner has chosen to be evasive and non-cooperative.”
On 31st May, the High Court, while granting Chidambaram interim protection from the arrest, had directed the former Finance Minister to join the questioning session and cooperate with the premier investigation agency of the country- CBI. Chidambaram in his anticipatory bail plea claimed that he was being harassed in the case and also maintained that he has not even been named by the agency in the case.
Recently, Chidambaram became the first former finance minister to be grilled by ED in connection with the INX media case. To make matters worse for Chidambaram, an ED officer claimed that he was harassed by Chidambaram for investigating Chidambaram and his son, Karti.
The raid at Karti Chidambaram’s firm was led by the ED Officer Rajeshwar Singh who claimed Chidambaram has made his life hell. In a letter accessed by Republic TV, Rajeshwar Singh has written, “Mr P Chidambaram made my life an accentuated hell as I was investigating him and his son Karti. An attempt was made to remove me from the investigations… Mr Chidambaram sported an open and direct grudge against the undersigned.” Another setback for Chidambaram came in the form of SC order which stated that the investigation into the Aircel Maxis must be completed by September 12.
Chidambaram first faced trouble in the Aircel-Maxis scam in 2014, when the CBI in its charge-sheet against the former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and the other accused had stated that it was investigating how the former finance minister, Chidambaram had granted Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval to a deal involving a foreign firm while it is only the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) that could have granted such an approval.
If the CBI is granted the custodial interrogation, not only it will be indictment of Chidambaram’s part in the scam but it would also probably lead to major revelations in the scam. The investigating agencies often seek custodial interrogation when they are convinced that a thorough questioning of an accused in an isolated environment is necessary to reveal the facts and facets the accused has been successful in hiding during preliminary investigations and questioning. It would also be very embarrassing for the former finance minister to face tough questioning in custody akin to a common criminal.
This is perhaps the fitting comeuppance for a person who maliciously used the term ‘Hindu Terror’ and framed innocent people of faith in terror cases when he was Home Minister. RVS Mani in his latest book ‘Hindu Terror’ has dedicated an entire chapter to P Chidambaram, and how he brought about a non-existent Hindu terror narrative into existence. According to him, NIA under P Chidambaram, “overlooked the first set of evidence and replaced it with the evidence supporting the Hindu terror narrative.” He also claimed that NIA officers who were involved in the investigation of terror cases have off the record accepted that there is no evidence of any sort of Hindu Terror. Mani has made many other shocking revelations in his book. In one such instance, when P Chidambaram was Home Minister, political quarters were against giving any hardcore evidence against Dawood Ibrahim to the United Nations.
An affidavit, filed in connection with the Ishrat Jahan encounter, was modified by the then Home Minister Chidambaram brushing aside intelligence inputs that Ishrat Jahan had terror links and was on a mission to assassinate the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi.
These revelations were made by former Home Secretary GK Pillai. This was a blatant act of minority appeasement and Ishrat was made out to be an innocent Muslim victim at the hands of the Gujarat police.
Now the time has arrived to make P Chidambaram pay for all his sins, corruptions and other wrong doings. Perhaps P Chidambaram is destined to suffer Lalu’s fate and it will be a huge achievement for the BJP’s and Subramanian Swamy’s crusade against corruption.