New Delhi: Already
under the scanner for alleged complicity in the 2G scam, Home
Minister P. Chidambaram found himself in more trouble Thursday
with the opposition pressing for his ouster following a report
that he allegedly abused his power while quashing a forgery case
against a former client.
Even as the government backed Chidambaram saying the ministry had
acted as per the law in this case, Delhi Lt Governor Tejendra
Khanna, according to sources, revoked the home ministry decision
of withdrawal of prosecution in the controversial case relating to
a Delhi-based hotelier.
This after both houses of parliament plunged into chaos and were
adjourned for the day following a report in a national daily
alleging that the home minister had helped the hotelier who was
his client when he was a practicing lawyer.
Chidambaram was not in either house when the opposition raised the
BJP members showed copies of the English daily that had published
the report on Chidambaram's alleged interest in the legal dispute
involving the Delhi-based hotel and its owners.
The report alleged that the home ministry had earlier this year,
with the approval of Chidambaram, directed the withdrawal of three
FIRs against his client S.P. Gupta, accused of cheating and
"The conflict of interest relates to a politically sensitive case
in which Chidambaram's client S.P. Gupta, a hotelier, was also
accused... The main case against Gupta was defrauding to the tune
of several crores of rupees," according to The Pioneer newspaper.
BJP's Chandan Mitra, editor of the daily, raised the issue in the
Rajya Sabha alleging that the home minister had misused his power.
"Chidambaram misused his powers. He instructed the Delhi
government and Delhi Police to withdraw charges. We think it is a
big case of conflict of interest. Chidambambaram has no moral
authority to remain the home minister, he should resign," Mitra
The home ministry, according to the report, had consulted the law
ministry for a legal opinion -- that the power vested in the
government could be exercised in such cases in the interest of
proper administration of justice.
The case dates back to 1999 when owners of the luxury Metropolitan
Hotel, Gupta and his company Sunair Hotels were involved in a
legal battle with private firm VLS Finance Ltd that claims to have
funded the hotel project.
Chidambaram, who was an opposition MP represented Sunair Hotels in
the case, according to the report.
But the home ministry said Chidambaram had no role to play in
withdrawing Gupta's prosecution.
"The home minister had no role in this. He (Chidambaram) said the
law ministry's advice and petition should be followed to the Delhi
government," Home Secretary R.K. Singh told reporters.
On whether Chidambaram had appeared for Gupta, the home secretary
said: "No senior advocate ever remembers who he advised a year
BJP leader Yashwant Sinha asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to
sack the minister who "is not just guilty of improper conduct but
is guilty of criminal offence".
"We demand he be sacked and not leave it to his discretion to
resign," Sinha told reporters.
Strongly defending Chidambaram, Minister of State for
Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said the BJP while raising the
issue was "hiding law ministry opinions" regarding the case.
Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office V. Narayanasamy said
BJP's Mitra raising the issue was a case of conflict of interest
because the story was published in the newspaper he edited.
"He should not be allowed to raise the issue in the house. This is
conflict of interest."