Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday met party veteran P Chidambaram at New Delhi’s Tihar jail, reported PTI. The meeting took place hours before the Supreme Court was scheduled to hear the former Union minister’s bail petition in the INX Media case.
His son Karti Chidamabaram said the meeting lasted for about 50 minutes. “Today Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra met my father,” he said. “This sends out a very strong message that the Congress party is with him.”
He hoped for a positive verdict from the top court. “My father has been in jail for the past 99 days,” Karti Chidamabaram said.
The 74-year-old leader, who was first arrested on August 21 by the Central Bureau of Investigation, has been in the Enforcement Directorate’s custody since October 17. He has been in Tihar Jail since September 5.
The Congress has always maintained that Chidambaram’s arrest was a witch hunt by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government. In September, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also visited Chidambaram in jail.
On Tuesday, the ED had opposed his bail plea claiming that Chidambaram used the “influential office” of finance minister for “personal gains” and laundered proceeds of crime to conceal “tainted money”. “The present case is a case of economic offence which itself constitutes a class apart and is considered to be the gravest offence cutting the very root of purity and probity of public administration,” the probe agency said.
Chidambaram had moved the top court on November 18 after the Delhi High Court rejected his bail application. The High Court had dismissed the bail plea on November 15, saying the charges against him were serious and that he “played an active role” in the case.
Last week, a court in Delhi had allowed the Enforcement Directorate to interrogate Congress leader P Chidambaram in Tihar Jail for two days.
In October, the Supreme Court granted the former minister bail in connection with the inquiries being conducted by the CBI, dismissing its contention that he was a flight risk. The agency has filed a review petition in the top court.
The INX Media case
The Enforcement Directorate filed a money laundering case in May 2017 against P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram, INX Media, and the company’s owners Indrani and Peter Mukerjea.
The Central Bureau of Investigation, which is also looking into the case, has said there were irregularities in the foreign direct investment clearance granted to INX Media by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board in 2007. Chidambaram was the finance minister at the time. The agency has submitted purported emails between INX Media and a company belonging to Karti Chidambaram, claiming that these emails will “prove offences committed”.