16 December 2011 :
Margashirsha Krushna 6, Kaliyug Varsha 5113
Home Minister faces High Command ire
Home Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday battled to retain his chair in the face of a strident call for his resignation within and outside Parliament. The decision of the Lt Governor of Delhi, Tejinder Khanna, to revoke the order for withdrawal of FIR against Chidambaram’s former client, hotelier SP Gupta, may have come too late. The damage control exercise will only give credence to allegations that the Home Minister’s directive to the Delhi Police to give relief to Gupta in three cases of serious fraud and cheating was legally untenable.
Despite facing such serious charges, Chidambaram did not make appearance in Parliament and remained out of bound for the media as well. The Government, the Congress and the Home Ministry did play proxy for the beleaguered Minister, but their defence was at best an exercise in evasion and at worst a ploy at making scapegoat of a junior official.
In addition to the tell-tale evidence establishing his complicity in the withdrawal of cases against the Gupta, the Home Minister also faces the ire of 10 Janpath — since the hotelier had floated a trust in the name of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and named Sonia Gandhi as its patron. Sources said Sonia was livid at her name being dragged in the unsavoury scandal and wanted legal process should not be interfered with.
Chidambaram also faces serious allegation of involvement in the 2G scam. The Supreme Court has reserved a judgement on a plea for CBI probe in his role and the lower court has already granted permission to Subramanian Swamy to proceed against him. While in both cases his fate will depend on judicial pronouncements, in the Gupta’s case it will be difficult for the Government to go on defending the indefensible.
Sensing the kill, the Opposition on Thursday went all out against Chidambaram in Parliament and both Houses saw disruption over demand for his resignation. While the Opposition stalled the Lok Sabha throughout the day, except for a brief interlude, Question Hour could not be taken in the Rajya Sabha.
As soon as the Rajya Sabha met for the day and Chairman Hamid Ansari commenced the Question Hour, BJP members, including Chandan Mitra and M Venkaiah Naidu, raised the matter.
Several BJP MPs as well as AIADMK leader V Maitreyan were seen waving copies of The Pioneer, which carried on the front-page an explosive story in its Thursday edition.
Evan as Ansari asked the members to refrain from showing the newspaper, sharp exchanges took place between Opposition and Treasury Benches.
In the midst of it, some Congress members were seen displaying copy of a newspaper which had a report that a trust, with Anna Hazare as a member, had allegedly grabbed land in Pune. As din prevailed, Ansari adjourned the House till noon at about 11.05 am.
The Lok Sabha witnessed uproar during Zero Hour with BJP and AIADMK members rushing into the Well of the House demanding Chidambaram’s resignation. AIADMK MPs, led by M Thambidurai and Semmalai, rushed to the Well along with several other party colleagues. The BJP’s protest was led by Murli Manohar Joshi and Yashwant Sinha.
Demanding the dismissal of Chidambaram from the Cabinet, BJP MPs and JD(U) MPs also trooped into the Well of the House. The AIADMK members were also seen waving copies of The Pioneer and demanded that Chidambaram be put in Tihar Jail along with former Telecom Minister A Raja.
The House was first adjourned at 12.30 PM, and when familiar scenes were witnessed on resumption at 2 pm, it was adjourned for the day.
Meanwhile, Chidambaram fielded Home Secretary RK Singh to put forward a strange argument in his defence. Singh claimed that order attributed to Chidambaram giving approval to withdraw cases against Gupta was drafted by a director in the Ministry and not seen by the Home Minister.
“The draft of a letter sent by the Home Ministry to the Delhi Government for withdrawal of the FIRs had not been shown to the Home Minister or Home Secretary or the Joint Secretary concerned and it did not reflect the proper deliberations of the Home Ministry. He suggested it could be a fault of drafting,” Singh said.
Defending Chidambaram, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said the Home Minister had specifically said on May 4, 2011 that his Ministry should not issue any direction to the Government of NCT and only forward the advice of the Law Ministry. These instructions are clearly there on the file, but still some official went ahead and issued direction for which the Minister should not be held responsible, he said.
Bansal, who is a lawyer, also agreed with Chidambaram’s plea that he did not remember having represented SP Gupta. He said it was difficult for a lawyer to remember whom he had represented ten years back.
Source : dailypioneer