Former Union minister P Chidambaram lashed out at the Centre, Enforcement Directorate and media on Sunday.
Former Union minister P Chidambaram lashed out at the Centre, Enforcement Directorate and media on Sunday.

Former Union minister P Chidambaram on Sunday took a dig at the Centre, Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the media over the “new improved system” of trying cases and pronouncing judgment without evidence, thereby “surpassing kangaroo courts”. Taking to Twitter, Chidambaram said, “If the government, ED and the media have their way, in this country, cases will be tried on TV channels.”

The veteran Congress leader’s remarks came a day after the ED told a Delhi court that Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case, had mentioned Congress leader Sonia Gandhi while he was being questioned.

Continuing his attack on the ED and the media, Chidambaram said, “Further, the Criminal Procedure Code and the Evidence Act will not apply. What the ED says will be oral evidence, any piece of paper that the ED produces will be documentary evidence and what the TV channel pronounces will be the judgment.”

Claiming that the “new improved system” has surpassed kangaroo courts, the Congress leader said, “Even kangaroo courts hold trials in a courtroom. Our new ‘improved’ system will surpass kangaroo courts and deliver justice on TV channels.”

On Saturday, ED’s Special Public Prosecutor, D P Singh, had told the court, “Parson (December 27) inhone Mrs Gandhi ka naam liya tha ek kisi reference mein. Main reference ka naam nahin loonga. To humein follow-up question karna tha ki Mrs Gandhi kaun hai… Medical examination ke time par unhein legal access diya gaya tha ki achaanak ye notice kiya gaya ki unhone kuchch diya hai, jo vakil sahib ne apne jeb mein rakh diya. Jab check kiya gaya to Mrs Gandhi par jo follow-up questions they woh vakil sahib ko slip-in kiye gaye (Day before yesterday, Michel took Mrs Gandhi’s name in some reference. I won’t say in what reference. So we needed to ask him a follow-up question as to who Mrs Gandhi is… He was given legal access during medical examination when suddenly we noticed that he handed over something to his lawyer, who pocketed it. When we checked, we found that the follow-up questions related to Mrs Gandhi had been slipped to the lawyer).”

Claiming “a conspiracy to shield or tamper with evidence”, the prosecutor had said that this could be revealed from the questioning of the accused.

Following the ED’s submission, both the BJP and the Congress traded charges, with the latter calling it a case of “BJP scriptwriters… working overtime” ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP, on the other hand, said the “revelations” had “stunned the nation” and were all pointing towards “one family”.

An accused in the alleged Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland scam, Michel was extradited from the UAE recently and is currently in the ED’s custody. The agency sought his custody for eight more days on Saturday, and the judge granted a week.

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