Not hiding, seeking protection, says P Chidambaram

New Delhi: Not getting any immediate protection against arrest from the Supreme Court, former Union Finance and Home Minister P Chidambaram surfaced dramatically at the party headquarters on Wednesday evening.

At his eloquent best, the articulate senior Congress leader said he was "not hiding from the law but seeking protection of the law" and hoped the investigating agencies "will respect the law".

"I was aghast that I was accused of hiding from the law. On the contrary, I was seeking the protection of the law. I was accused of running away from justice. On the contrary, I was engaged in the pursuit of justice," Chidambaram told reporters.

He said he would wait till Friday, when the Supreme Court had decided to hear his plea against his arrest.

"In the INX media case, I have not been accused of any offence, nor is anyone else, including any member of my family, been accused of any offence. In fact, there is no charge sheet filed by either the CBI or the ED before a competent court.

And statements recorded by the CBI do not impute to me any wrongdoing. Yet there is a widespread impression that grave offences have been committed, and my son and I have committed those offences.

"Nothing can be further from the truth. These are lies spread by pathological liars. When I was summoned by the CBI and then the ED to appear for questioning, I naturally sought interim protection against arrest from the competent court.

I was granted interim protection. I have enjoyed the interim protection for the last 13-15 months. The matters were finally heard."I was not hiding but I was working alongside my lawyers throughout the night and today to prepare the papers. We completed the task only this morning.

"My lawyers have told me that despite their impassioned pleas, the cases were not listed today, nor will they be listed tomorrow, but will only be listed on Friday. I bow down to the orders of the Supreme Court. 

"Between now and Friday I shall walk with a clear conscience and my head held high. I shall respect the law even if it is applied with an unequal hand by the investigating agencies," he said.

"In the name of freedom I can only hope and pray that the investigating agencies will respect the law. In the present circumstances, respect for law can only mean one thing: Await the decision of the Supreme Court on Friday.

"Some days ago when I spoke in Parliament, I had said that every judge in this country will uphold the liberty of a citizen. I had said that the collective conscience and the institutional memory of the court as a venerable institution will guide all judges of the country as much as I believe in liberty.

I also believe in the wisdom of our judges. So friends, until Friday and beyond. There is hope that the lamp of liberty will shine bright and illuminate the whole country," he added. After the press conference, he returned to his Jor Bagh residence.

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