At a time when investigation agencies are scrambling to keep former Union Minister P Chidambaram in custody on charges of money-laundering, his family today accused the media of playing into the centre's hands by making "wild, unverified and unsubstantiated allegations" against him.
"While we understand that the motive of the government is to demonize and humiliate P Chidambaram, we are deeply saddened that the media is unable to uphold liberty against calumny. One of the fundamental principles of liberty is: Every person is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law," Mr Chidambaram's family claimed in a message posted on social media.
The former Union Minister is accused of facilitating illegal infusion of foreign funds in jailed media baron Indrani Mukerjea's INX Media over a decade ago in return for alleged kickbacks to his son, Karti Chidambaram. He has been in custody for nearly a week now, ever since the Delhi High Court denied him anticipatory bail on August 20.
The former Union Minister's family attested to his innocence, claiming that his 50 years spent serving the people with "impeccable honesty" will not be wiped out by a "campaign of vilification". "We challenge the government to produce a shred of evidence in support of even one undisclosed bank account, one undisclosed property or one shell company anywhere in the world," the letter, tweeted out by Karti Chidambaram on his family's behalf, read.
"We are a small family possessed of enough wealth and we are all income tax assessees. We do not crave money and have no need to seek money in unlawful ways. We are therefore astounded by allegations of properties in multiple countries, multiple bank accounts, numerous shell companies, etc," the letter read. "These are chapters plucked out of ghost stories, and one day these ghosts will be buried."
During today's hearing in the Supreme Court, Mr Chidambaram's legal team argued that the Enforcement Directorate's case against him does not stand because that particular law was not in existence when the alleged offence was committed. It also demanded that the Enforcement Directorate produce the transcript of their questioning session with the senior Congress leader so it could be "proven beyond doubt" that he wasn't being evasive.
Following this, the Supreme Court ruled that he cannot be arrested by the Enforcement Directorate until Wednesday.