P Chidambaram turned 74 years old on Monday inside Delhi’s Tihar Jail and his son Karti Chidambaram wrote a letter to the former finance minister slamming the Centre “for being extremely imaginative and creative in the face of bad news”.
The senior Congress leader was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the INX Media case on August 21 and he spent 14 days in the agency’s custody before being sent to Tihar Jail. The former Union finance minister, who was born in 1945 in Kanadukathan of Tamil Nadu’s Sivaganga district, will be under judicial custody till September 19.
P Chidambaram had moved the Delhi High Court on September 12 for regular bail in the CBI case. The high court had told the agency to produce its status report in this case within seven days and listed the next hearing on September 23.
In another setback to the senior opposition leader, another Delhi court had on September 13 rejected P Chidambaram’s request to let him surrender before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and face questioning in the INX Media case.
Karti Chidambaram, who represents Sivaganga in the Lok Sabha, wrote a two-page letter to his father wishing him on his birthday and bringing him “up to speed” on national and international news.
“You are turning 74 today and no 56!!! can stop you. Although you have never been one for grand celebrations, and nowadays in the country, we seem to be making grand celebrations out of every little thing; your birthday is not the same without you with us. We miss you, your absence tugs at our hearts, and we wish you were back home to cut a cake with all of us,” Karti wrote in the letter he posted on Twitter.
“I am glad I got to see you and know that your spirits are high despite everything,” he said.
From Chandrayaan-2 to Union minister Piyush Goyal’s slip up on gravity to Jammu and Kashmir and the National Register of Citizens in Assam to Boris Johnson and protests in Hong Kong, Karti talked about several issues in his letter.
“Celebrating how wonderfully the GDP is at a 6-year low of 5 per cent as you defiantly pointed out; What an achievement that auto sales have fallen for the 10th month in a row; And of course patting themselves on the back for the Sensex crashing to its biggest fall in 2019 earlier this week,” Karti said while referring to Prakash Javadekar’s press conference on the completion of 100 days by the Modi government.
Karti, is also being probed in the INX Media case by CBI and ED, talked about the first National Register for Citizens in Assam, which he said has left the government “clutching at straws.”
“What not enough Muslims? Let’s relook at the data, after all data these days is a tinkerable commodity, as are facts. I have to applaud the government for being extremely imaginative and creative in the face of bad news, a bit like the search for the details of our mythical bank accounts and properties from across the world. Wish we knew where all these millions were,” he said.
The CBI case relates to allegations of irregularities in the grant of a clearance to INX Media for receiving foreign investment to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007, when Chidambaram was finance minister in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. CBI registered an FIR in the case on May 15, 2017.
INX Media co-founders Peter Mukerjea and his wife Indrani Mukerjea have been charged with entering into a criminal conspiracy with Karti Chidambaram to secure clearance from Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for the foreign investment received by the company and evade punitive measures for not having the requisite approvals.
Indrani Mukerjea, who has turned an approver against Chidambaram in this case, told CBI in March last year that a deal of $1 million had been struck between Karti Chidambaram and the Mukerjeas to secure FIPB approval in favour of INX Media.
ED also filed a money laundering case against Chidambaram in 2017.
“The BJP government celebrates their unpropitious second innings and they couldn’t have possibly found a better time to silence you,” reads the letter.
“But I have faith that you too will come out guns blazing against this elaborately staged political drama and for now, we all await that hard-fought glory of truth,” he said.
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