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Kingpins in INX Media case in govt, waging campaign to defame Chidambaram: Cong

twitter-logoPTI | September 20, 2019 | Updated 20:11 IST

New Delhi, Sep 20 (PTI) The Congress on Friday accused the government of waging a vilification campaign against former finance minister P Chidambaram and claimed the "kingpins" in the INX Media case were in the government. The opposition party said his arrest was nothing but a paramount example of political vendetta. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said this is a conspiracy by the government as investigating agencies probing the case have held only Chidambaram guilty and not the 11 other officers who put their signatures before him in giving clearances to INX Media. "It is abundantly clear that this is a conspiracy on the part of the government and not on the part of the person who is accused. It is a case of nothing less than a political vendetta," Ramesh told reporters at the AICC headquarters. "The kingpins are in the government who are waging this campaign of character assassination and vilification to defame, not only an individual or a former minister, but the Congress party in the process," he said. He said one fact that has not been highlighted by the probe agencies investigating the case is that 24 proposals were put up before the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and a total of 11 officials, including top secretaries in the Government of India, signed on the file before Chidambaram. But, he said, the probe agencies have chosen to suppress that the INX Media case was part of a set of about 24 proposals, which were put up to the finance minister for approval. In that file, there were 11 signatures, including those of six members of the FIPB, setup in 1991. After the Board examined the proposal, it went to the Finance Ministry for further approval by the under secretary, deputy secretary, director, joint secretary, additional secretary and finance secretary. He said the finance secretary looked at the proposal twice, once as the chairman of the FIPB and the second time as the finance secretary. "This INX Media proposal has 11 signatures of officers, 11, not 1 and the 12th signature dated May 28, 2007 is that of the then finance minister P Chidambaram." The INX Media case has gone through 11-layered scrutiny and each one of them has been spoken to by the investigative agencies, he said. "The officers have not been found to have done something illegal or something blatantly wrong. Now, if they have been exonerated, the question arises, how is that the 12th man who signed suddenly becomes the kingpin," Ramesh asked. Chidambaram had on September 9 tweeted that no officer did anything wrong and no arrest should be made. "Is this a penalty for signing on a file based on what has come to the minister? If the penalty is custody in Tihar Jail then no minister, I can assure you, will sign any file. This, I think is a basic fact, which the investigating agencies have chosen not to highlight," he noted. PTI SKC DPB

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