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'Deeply hurt' Chidambaram rejects conflict of interest charges

Friday December 16, 2011 07:08:15 PM, IANS

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Clamour for Chidambaram's ouster over 'misuse' of power

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   

New Delhi: Home Minister P. Chidambaram Friday said he was "deeply hurt" and rejected the opposition charge that he had misused his office while withdrawing prosecution against a businessman he represented as a lawyer.

"I feel deeply hurt (by the opposition charge)... I strongly reject completely unfounded allegations of the BJP," Chidambaram told reporters here, breaking his silence over the controversy.

The home minister said he didn't have any "current subsisting interest with any case he represented as a lawyer" because "I can't have life-long interest in over 25,000 cases" he represented as lawyer in the last four decades.

He said the opposition charges were "most ridiculous".

The home minister said he had "once" seen the file of hotelier S.P. Gupta to withdraw his prosecution and that he had asked the ministry not to give any directions in the case.

"The confidential draft was prepared by the director who didn't show it to anyone and sent it on his own. I was clear that no directions should be given. Had I had a continuing interest, it would be conflict of interest," said Chidambaram.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has accused the home minister of "conflict of interest" and forced parliament to shut for two days alleging that Chidambaram had favoured Gupta, chairman of Sunair Hotels Pvt Ltd, by misusing his office for his "former client".

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.

The home minister has been a focused target of the opposition since the winter session began Nov 22. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance had declared on the eve of the session that it would not allow Chidambaram to speak in parliament till he resigns over his alleged role in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.





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