Chidambaram moves SC for protection of fundamental rights

Chidambaram described the healthcare scheme as ''jumla'' Photograph:( Reuters )

PTI New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 25, 2018, 05.19 AM (IST)

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram has approached the Supreme Court seeking protection of his fundamental rights, including the right to privacy, amid summons to his son Karti Chidambaram and raids by the CBI and the ED in connection with cases related to Aircel-Maxis and INX Media.

Chidambaram, who is also a senior advocate, has claimed in his plea that as part of "political vendetta", the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) have made "vexatious" searches and issued the repeated summons in these cases.

"The writ petition is being filed to defend and protect the petitioner?s fundamental rights under Article 14 (equality before law), 19 (freedom of speech and expression) and 21 (right to life and personal liberty) of the Constitution and to defend his right to privacy and the right to live, along with members of his family, in dignity," the petition said.

"The CBI and the ED, as part of political vendetta, have made vexatious searches, issued repeated summons, unreasonably questioned persons for unconscionably long hours, unlawfully attached fixed deposits, maliciously leaked false information to the media and otherwise caused extreme harassment, anguish and humiliation to me and my son, and to other persons who are normal business and social friends of my son,? Chidambaram said.

The Congress leader said that both he and his son have categorically denied any wrongdoing in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approvals in these cases.

"Every government officer who has been examined by the CBI/ED has categorically stated that the approvals granted in these two cases were entirely in order,? he said.

The former Union finance minister also said that he was the "real target" of these "motivated actions" of the CBI and the ED, but these agencies have not accused him or other public servants of any offence in these cases.

Chidambaram raised a legal issue asking whether without an FIR naming him or his son, the CBI or the ED could probe the alleged offences against them.

He sought the top court's direction to prohibit these two agencies from continuing with "illegal" probe and acting in any manner causing repeated harassment to him, his son and family members.

An FIR, filed by the CBI on May 15 last year, had alleged irregularities in the FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when Chidambaram was the Union finance minister. The ED has also registered a money laundering case.

The CBI is also probing the alleged irregularities in grant of the FIPB clearance to the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006.