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Manner of Chidambaram's arrest was depressing, insulting, say opposition leaders

twitter-logoPTI | August 22, 2019 | Updated 18:51 IST

(Eds: Incorporating related stories) New Delhi, Aug 22 (PTI) Opposition leaders, including those from the Congress, came out in support of former Union minister P Chidambaram on Thursday, claiming the manner in which he was treated was depressing and insulting, and termed his arrest the "murder" of democracy. On Wednesday, Chidambaram was arrested by a CBI team in the INX Media case. The Congress lashed out at the government and accused it of using the CBI and ED as a personal "revenge-seeking departments". Party chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said at a press conference, "The vindictive, selective and malicious manner in which former finance and home minister Chidambaram has been persecuted and prosecuted is nothing short of a brazen personal and political vendetta." "Over the last two days India witnessed the broad daylight murder of democracy and the rule of law by a government hell bent upon using CBI and ED as personal revenge-seeking departments for the party in power," he charged. Surjewala said with the narrative on a sinking economy spiralling out of their control and amid unprecedented job losses, devaluation of the rupee and crisis in all sectors leading to shutting down of factories and trade, "we now see the depths to which a desperate Modi Government 2.0 will stoop to divert the nation's attention". West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the arrest of Chidambaram was "depressing" and alleged that the judiciary was not coming to the help of a "crying" democratic system. In her first reaction after Chidambaram's arrest on Wednesday evening, Banerjee quoted Rabindranath Tagore and said the "message of justice is crying silently in isolation". "P Chidambaram is an economist, and a former home minister and finance minister. The manner in which he has been arrested is depressing. There are four pillars of democracy: democratic institutions, Election Commission, media and judicial system. The democratic system of our country is crying, yet the judiciary is not coming to its aid," she said in a statement issued by the Trinamool Congress. She also alleged that media outlets have become spokespersons of the ruling BJP. CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said that the law should take its own course, but the treatment meted out to the senior leader was "objectionable". "The law will take its own course, but the manner in which it was done, the drama that ensued was completely objectionable," Yechury told reporters. Backing the former finance minister, DMK chief M K Stalin termed it a "political vendetta", while the RJD attacked the BJP, claiming that all will be forgiven if you are with the saffron party. Stalin lashed out at CBI officials for scaling the walls of the Congress leader's house on Wedesday to gain entry and said that he considered it an "insult to India". "I saw on TV, the CBI officers scaling the walls (at Chidambaram's Delhi residence). I consider it as an insult to India. It is condemnable," he told reporters in Chennai. The NCP smelled a "political vendetta" behind the CBI and ED's actions against Chidambaram and MNS chief Raj Thackeray. NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik alleged it was the Modi government's "model" of "misusing" probe agencies to harass opposition leaders who speak up against it and added people will see through the developments. Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury criticised the BJP government for pursuing vendetta politics against the party's leaders and said the former union minister was arrested as he was vocal on corruption by the saffron party leaders. The way Chidambaram was arrested late on Wednesday night is undemocratic and completely unacceptable, he said. Meanwhile, Congress workers held protests in West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh against Chidambaram's arrest. In various parts of West Bengal, party workers staged road and blockades and organised rallies on Thursday. Youth Congress activists, carrying posters and placards, were seen raising slogans against the BJP-led central government in Kolkata and several other districts, including North 24 Paraganas, South 24 Paraganas, Malda, Murshidabad and Birbhum. The protesters claimed that the Centre was pursuing "vendetta politics" against the party leaders. Congress workers protested outside the CBI office in Madhya Pradesh's Bhopal city.They held placards with messages alleging alleging "misuse" of the CBI gathered outside the agency's office in the Char Imli area and staged a noisy agitation. PTI ASG AAR

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