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Cong dubs move against Chidambarm as 'vendetta';BJP calls him 'absconding revolutionary of corruption'

twitter-logoPTI | August 21, 2019 | Updated 20:42 IST

(Eds: Updating, combining related stories) New Delhi, Aug 21 (PTI) The Congress on Wednesday rallied behind its leader P Chidambaram, wanted by probe agencies in connection with the INX Media money laundering case, with party leader Rahul Gandhi accusing the Modi government of using central bodies to "character assassinate" the former finance minister, a charge rejected by the BJP, which dubbed Chidambarm as "absconding revolutionary of corruption". Not only the Congress but DMK chief M K Stalin also accused the BJP-led central government of pursuing "political vendetta". "Modi Government is using the ED, CBI and sections of a spineless media to character assassinate Mr Chidambaram. I strongly condemn this disgraceful misuse of power," Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the party will continue to fight for truth no matter what the consequences. She also said Chidambaram speaks the truth which is inconvenient to "cowards" and is thus being "shamefully hunted down". The BJP rejected the Congress charge of political vendetta, saying the Union government did not interfere in the investigation and Chidambarm must face consequences, if he has done something wrong. "If he has done something fishy, he must face consequences. Probe agencies do not work at the government's behest. They have powers to act independently," BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said. Taking a swipe at Chidambaram, Union minister and BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi dubbed him as "absconding revolutionary of corruption" which, he added, has triggered commotion in the Congress. "Does the Congress have deep bonding with corruption?" he further tweeted. Taking a dig at Priyanka for supporting Chidambaram, BJP IT department head Amit Malviya said it was "quite natural". "Priyanka Vadra's support for P Chidambaram is quite natural. After all she has the experience of standing by Robert Vadra too, who is also facing several investigations for serious economic offences," he tweeted, in a reference to cases of alleged corruption against her husband. Chidambaram faces arrest in two cases, including a money laundering case linked to INX Media, and has been denied anticipatory bail by the Delhi High Court on Tuesday. Also despite repeated attempts by his lawyers, the former Union home minister failed to get any relief on Wednesday from the Supreme Court, which has decided to hear on Friday his petition seeking stay on the Delhi High Court order. Both CBI and ED have issued 'look out' circular to prevent him from leaving the country. Backing Chidambaram, Stalin in Chennai said,"as regards this issue, I have clearly learnt that these (actions) are happening due to political vendetta." Apart from Rahul and Priyanka, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, Anand Sharma and Abhishek Singhvi also expressed their solidarity with Chidambaram. "An extremely qualified and respected member of the Rajya Sabha, P Chidambaram ji has served our nation with loyalty for decades including as Finance Minister and Home Minister," Priyanka said in a tweet. "He unhesitatingly speaks truth to power and exposes the failures of this government, but the truth is inconvenient to cowards so he is being shamefully hunted down. We stand by him and will continue to fight for the truth no matter what the consequences are," she said. "A govt that persecutes its citizens for speaking truth to power is only reiterating its own cowardly nature. P Chidambaram is an extremely qualified and respected leader, he has served this nation with dedication & humility. We stand by his quest for truth no matter what," the Congress said on its official Twitter handle. Singhvi also tweeted, "The hunger for sensationalism in this case is deadly and could lead to character assassination of a towering political figure." "How can somebody be an absconder who was with me in legal conference till 6.30PM yesterday?," he asked. Surjewala tweeted, "India witnesses worst kind of virulent vendetta by the Modi Government as the BJP runs a police state. Judge reserves judgement for 7 months & delivers it 72 hours before retirement, CBI/ED are sent to raid as a respected former FM is hounded. Banana Republic?" His colleague, senior party spokesperson Anand Sharma, also accused the government of targeting opposition leaders and termed the action of probe agencies against Chidambaram as "political vendetta". Incidently, Chidambaram was the Union Home minister when Amit Shah was arrested for his alleged involvement in a fake encounter case. Shah was later cleared of all charges. Asserting that there are serious allegations against their own leaders, including its chief ministers, who are in office, Sharma alleged that the same agencies go silent. Sharma also alleged that there is not "even a whisper" after some leaders facing investigation like Mukul Roy and Himanta Biswa Sharma who defected their respective parties and joined the BJP. "So there cannot be double standards, it is so glaring. This is not a good image for this country. Chidambaram has been cooperating and joining the investigation, as and when he was required. There has not been any occasion when he has not presented himself, so why this tearing hurry tonight. The government and the agencies should also respect the Supreme Court, have faith and wait for the hearing tomorrow," he said. Another Congress spokesperson R P N Singh echoed him, saying even when there are cases going on against leaders of other parties, the investigations are stopped the moment they join the BJP. Coming out in support of Chidambaram, Shashi Tharoor lauded his strength of character that he stood up to persecution and character assassination with courage and confidence. "I believe justice will prevail in the end. Till then we will have to allow some malicious minds their schadenfreude." Attacking the BJP, the RJD tweeted, "if you join the saffron party, all your stains are washed." PTI SKC KR ASK PYK PYK

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