‘No case against 11 others who signed file, how is Chidambaram kingpin’

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi with senior Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and others at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting.

A day after a Delhi court extended the judicial custody of former Union minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media case till October 3, the Congress on Friday came out in strong defence of him. Senior leader Jairam Ramesh asked how Chidambaram can be implicated in the case when all 11 officers who approved the proposal had been exonerated.

Addressing a press conference, Ramesh said, The INX Media case was part of a set of about 24 proposals, which were put up to the Finance Minister for approval. And in that file there were 11 signatures, 6 members of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board and five officers of the Finance Ministry. The Finance Secretary looks at the proposal twice, once as chairman of the FIPB and once as the Finance Secretary. So this INX Media proposal has 11 signatures of officers… and the 12th signature is that of the then Finance Minister Chidambaram… So, INX Media (proposal) was actually approved… because it had gone through 11 layers of scrutiny.

It had 11 signatures without any comments and each of these officers or some of these officers, we understand, have been spoken to by the investigating agencies. There has been no case made out against these officers… Now, if these officers have been exonerated, the question arises, how has the man who has signed the 12th signature suddenly become the kingpin? he asked.

Ramesh said he was not demanding action against the officers and said that Chidambaram himself had recently tweeted that he does not want any officer to be arrested as none of them has done anything wrong.

He also said no minister will sign any file if this philosophy of arresting the minister is adopted.

As minister for eight years… sometimes I have disagreed with the files that had come to me… Where I have disagreed, I have given reasons for the disagreement, where I have agreed I have simply signed. Now, if the penalty for signing on file based on what has come to the minister… is custody in Tihar Jail, no minister, I can assure you, will sign any file, he said.