West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday criticised the manner in which investigative agencies arrested former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram last night in Delhi in the INX Media case.
Teams of the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate followed the Congress leader to his home on Wednesday night, minutes after he held a press conference at the party’s headquarters to address the charges against him. Some officers even scaled walls to get inside while another team tried to enter through the back door.
“P Chidambaram is an economist, and has formerly been a home minister and finance minister,” said the West Bengal chief minister. “The manner in which he has been arrested is depressing.”
She pointed out there were four pillars of democracy – democratic institutions, Election Commission, media and judicial system.” The democratic system of our country is crying, yet the judiciary is not coming to its aid,” she added.
Banerjee also quoted Rabindranath Tagore and said the “message of justice is crying silently in isolation”. The Trinamool Congress chief accused the media of selling itself to the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Banerjee’s criticism was echoed by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam President MK Stalin, who also questioned the way Chidambaram was arrested, ANI reported. “I too saw how CBI jumped the wall and arrested him, it is a matter of shame for India, it is political vendetta,” he said. “Chidambaram had asked for anticipatory bail but he was arrested, it is condemnable.”
Earlier in the day, the Congress said the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate were being used as the government’s “personal revenge-seeking departments”. “Over the last two days India witnessed the broad daylight murder of democracy as also the rule of law,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said at a press conference. “Government using CBI, ED as personal revenge-seeking departments for the party in power as also those ruling country.”
Referring to former INX Media Director Indrani Mukerjea, he said “a seasoned politician” had been arrested on the basis of the statement of a woman accused of murdering her daughter. Chidambaram’s arrest came hours after Mukerjea gave a statement to the CBI, accusing the Congress leader’s son Karti Chidambaram of accepting bribe to help her company escape punitive action for taking Rs 305 crore in foreign funding in 2007 despite having clearance from the Foreign Exchange Promotion Board for only Rs 4 crore. P Chidambaram was the finance minister at the time.
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