Rajat Sharma

A clear and tough message has now gone after Chidambaram’s arrest

akb2308 The dramatic arrest of former Finance Minister and former Home Minister P. Chidambaram by the Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday night in connection with the INX Media case signifies the determinaton of the Modi 2.0 government to combat and root out corruption.

The senior Congress leader went incommunicado for more than 27 hours, after a Delhi High Court dismissed his anticipatory bail petition saying that he was the “kingpin” in the case that involved payment of bribe and offshore money laundering through firms owned by his son.

Before the Rouse Avenue CBI court judge in Delhi on Thursday, senior counsels Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi pleaded on behalf of Chidambaram, while the Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta spoke on behalf of CBI.

Chidambaram’s counsels said that the co-accused in the case Karti Chidambaram is on bail, while two other accused Indrani and Peter Mukerjea are also on bail, hence there was no point in sending the former Union Minister to custody.

These counsels also argued that there was no scope of further interrogation as the charge sheet has already been prepared. They also pointed out that the Foreign Investment Promotion Board sanctions given to INX Media had the consent of six secretary-level officials, but no attempt had been made to arrest them.

On behalf of CBI, the Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta said that the Delhi High Court has considered the seriousness of the offence and has prima facie found Chidambaram guilty, because of which he was denied anticipatory bail.

Tushar Mehta told the court that custodial interrogation of Chidambaram was necessary to establish evidences about the money trail. The SGI said that Chidambaram played an “effective and informed role” in the entire conspiracy, and had evaded questions from both CBI and ED last year.

After hearing arguments from both sides, the Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar said the charges were serious and sent Chidambaram in CBI remand for five days.

The Special Judge said, “the enormity of the alleged money involved in this case and the persons who are accused” required an in-depth investigation”. The judge however told the CBI to ensure that “the personal dignity of the accused is not violated in any manner”.

Whatever may be the final outcome of the judicial process in this case, a clear message has now gone to the people of India that nobody, in howsoever exalted position he or she may be, will be spared in cases involving corruption, money laundering and similar other charges.

It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who during the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, had launched the “Main Bhi Chowkidar” campaign and had emphatically said in his election meetings that “whoever looted the country will have to pay the price for it”. Modi had then mentioned the National Herald case involving Gandhi family and the dubious land deals involving Robert Vadra.

Modi had then said: “I have been compiling proofs since 2014 and things are now moving in the right direction. While someone is on bail, others are shuffling between hearing dates from courts. Those people are making rounds of courts today. In my 5 years, I have managed to take these people to the doors of the jail. Now, I will put them behind bars,”

The fear of law has now set in and those who have been involved in wrongdoing will now have to face the full brunt of law.

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