Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, wanted in a money laundering case, made a dramatic appearance at a press conference in the Congress headquarters on Wednesday evening, and asked probe agencies to 'respect' the law and wait till Friday when the Supreme Court hears his bail plea.
Facing arrest after Supreme Court refused to hear his urgent plea for bail in the INX media case, Chidambaram put up a strong defence of himself and his family members, saying none of them has been accused of any offense by the probe agencies.
"I am aghast that I was accused of hiding from the law," he said rejecting allegations that he was evading investigating agencies. He said he was working with his lawyers through the last night, preparing his papers or his bail application.He claimed that he was not hiding but rather seeking protection from the law, saying that he has not been accused of any offence and there was no chargesheet filed either by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) or the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) before a competent court.
"Even FIR recorded by CBI does not accuse me of any wrongdoing. I have not been accused of any offence, nor anyone else including any member of my family. There is no chargesheet filed either by ED or CBI before a competent court. Lies are being spread by pathological liars," Chidambaram said while addressing media at the AICC headquarters.
"I spent last night preparing my papers. I was not running away from justice, but was engaged in pursuit of justice. I believe that the foundation of a democracy is liberty, most precious article of the Constitution is Article 21 that guarantees life and liberty. If I'm asked to choose between life and liberty, I will choose liberty," he added.
"I will walk with a clean conscience and my head held high till Friday and beyond. Until Friday and beyond, let's hope the lamp of liberty will shine bright and illuminate the whole country. I will respect law even if applied with an unequal hand by probe agencies," Chidambaram said.
Earlier in the day Chidambaram failed twice to get immediate relief from the Supreme Court which refused to grant an urgent hearing on the matter. Chidambaram had sought a stay on the Delhi High Court's Tuesday judgement dismissing his anticipatory bail plea.
The former finance minister is under the scanner for allegedly using his influence to approve a Rs 305-crore foreign investment in INX Media.