Former Finance Minister of India P Chidamabaram addressed the media at 12:30 pm today. "Prime Minister has been unusually silent on the economy. He has left it to his ministers to indulge in bluff and bluster. The net result, as the Economist put it, is that the government has turned out to be an 'incompetent manager'of the economy," said the minister.
"My record as Minister and my conscience are absolutely clear. Officers who have worked with me, business persons who have interacted with me and journalists who have observed me know that very well," he said.
"We will be lucky to end the year if growth touches 5%. Please remember Dr Arvind Subramanian's caution that 5% under this government, because of suspect methodology, is not really 5% but less by about 1.5%," he said.
The Congress MP arrived in Parliament on Thursday after being granted bail in a money laundering case. The 74-year-old Congress leader protested at the Parliament premises against rising onion prices.
Holding banners and shouting slogans demanding that the government reduce the prices and "stop harassing" the poor, the Congress MPs protested with a basket full of onions.
Chidambaram had spent 106 days in Tihar jail. He was granted bail by the Supreme Court in the INX Media money laundering case. The senior Congress leader had been in custody since August 21 when he was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the INX Media corruption case.
At 8 pm, when he walked out of Tihar Jail where Youth Congress workers were waiting in numbers, Chidambaram said: "I cannot comment on the case. I'm going to obey the SC order and I will not comment on the case. But the fact is that after 106 days' pre-trial incarceration, there is not a single charge framed against me as we speak to you now. Not one charge has been framed against me. I will speak all about that tomorrow."
The bail of Chidambaram has come with a caveat that he can't travel overseas. He has also been asked to not make any kind of contact with the witnesses in the INX Media case. Further, the Apex court held that Chidambaram would not be allowed to make public statements or participate in interviews with media with regard to this case. The court has also directed him to submit bail bond of Rs 200,000 plus two sureties as condition for his bail.