INX Media case: P Chidambaram pleads 'reputation' in SC, but ex-finance minister's actions undercut his credibility

  • P Chidambaram, a supposed legal luminary, is doing exactly the opposite of what he ought to in the Supreme Court by pleading that he has a reputation to sustain

  • The “law abiding citizen” and most powerful Union minister for 10 years in the erstwhile UPA government has been untraceable since 5 pm Tuesday

  • By going incommunicado, playing a cat and mouse game with investigative agencies, Chidambaram is, in fact, tearing apart by his own hand his reputation

P Chidambaram, a supposed legal luminary, is doing exactly the opposite of what he ought to in the Supreme Court by pleading that he has a "reputation to sustain". Consider one of the arguments P Chidambaram's lawyers made in the petition before Supreme Court seeking a stay on Delhi High Court refused to grant him bail in the INX Media case: “The petitioner is a law abiding citizen and has a reputation to sustain in society. He is a sitting Member of the Rajya Sabha. The antecedents of the petitioner are impeccable.”

 INX Media case: P Chidambaram pleads reputation in SC, but ex-finance ministers actions undercut his credibility

File photo of Congress leader P Chidambaram. PTI

The “law abiding citizen” and arguably most powerful Union minister in the erstwhile UPA government has been untraceable since 5 pm Tuesday. The Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate have been unable to trace him. A lookout notice has been issued by agencies concerned, so that he is unable to leave the country using his diplomatic passport (like Vijay Mallya who was also a Rajya Sabha MP when he fled).

Sleuths from law enforcement agencies are stationed at Chidambaram's properties, his known locations and anywhere he is suspected to have gone. But there's no sign of Chidambaram. One can thus conclude that he has gone untraceable while he hopes for relief from the apex court, which did not entertain his plea despite the multiple and hurried entreaties of his heavyweight lawyers such as Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Salman Khurshid. It should be noted that Sibal and Khurshid were law ministers in the former UPA regime.

The question which Chidambaram and legal eagles following his case should ask themselves is this: Will the round the clock news of a former home and finance minister evading law enforcement agencies and terming the actions of probe agencies as "political vendetta" by the Modi government will in any way help to sustain or enhance the reputation he claims to have? By going incommunicado, playing a cat and mouse game with investigative agencies, Chidambaram is, in fact, tearing apart by his own hand his reputation.

There is no sympathy for Chidambaram, least of all for the "political vendetta" theory advanced by Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, senior leaders of grand old party  A person with a "reputation to sustain", that too a public figure, who has the might of the Congress behind him (whatever is left of it), would not be untraceable. Remember, the Delhi High Court labelled Chidambaram as the 'prima facie kingpin' in the INX Media case and added that “it’s a classic case of money laundering.”

In his plea before the apex court, Chidambaram's team argued that “he has never been an accused of any offence.” It seems Chidambaram and his legal team forgot — rather conveniently — that he has been named in two other cases and linked in four other cases. Or perhaps they are redefining the word "accused". As senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh once said of his Congress colleagues: "Sultanate is gone but we behave like Sultans.”

Updated Date: Aug 21, 2019 18:26:24 IST