P Chidambaram Statement: “Between Life And Liberty, I Pick Liberty”


P Chidambaram was not seen in public since Delhi High court refused to protect him from arrest on Tuesday


Former Union minister P Chidambaram – sought by investigative agencies for nearly 24 hours in connection with a corruption case — appeared dramatically at the Congress headquarters this evening to present and explanation and an appeal of sorts. He said if given a choice between life and liberty, he would choose liberty. "I believe the foundation of democracy is liberty. If asked to choose between life and liberty, I would choose liberty," said the senior Congress leader who was not seen in public since the Delhi High court refused to protect him from arrest on Tuesday.

"All we wanted is a hearing. No one is running away," he added.

"I was aghast that I was accused of hiding from the law," said the 73-year-old. He was pursuing the law and that he has faith in the law "even if it is applied by an unequal hand" by the investigative agencies, he said.

"I was working alongside my lawyers whole of last night… and the whole day," Mr Chidambaram said, explaining his absence from the public eye.

"Respect for the law can mean only one thing — await (the Supreme Court's) decision on Friday… Until Friday, let's hope the lamp of liberty will shine bright," he said in what was seen as a message to the investigative agencies that have been pursuing him since last evening.

The CBI had visited his residence in Delhi twice and two lookout circulars – meant to stop a person from leaving the country — have been issued against him by the agency and the Enforcement Directorate.

Mr Chidambaram's appeal, however, appeared to have missed its mark. Shortly after the Congress leader reached his south Delhi home, a CBI team reached. Unable to get in through the door, they scaled the boundary wall and the roof in full view of television cameras to make way inside the house.

This morning, the Supreme Court refused an urgent hearing on his request for anticipatory bail and said it would hear the petition on Friday.

In his petition before the top court, the former minister has argued that his antecedents are "impeccable" and there is no possibility of him "fleeing from justice". Requesting more time to appear before the CBI, he had sought interim relief, saying else, he would suffer "irreparable loss".

Mr Chidambaram is accused of facilitating foreign investment in the INX Media company in 2007, as Finance Minister in the Congress-led UPA government, at the instance of his son Karti Chidambaram, who allegedly received kickbacks for his role.

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