New Delhi: Citing Union Minister Arun Jaitley’s criticism, senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Sunday hit out at the CBI for its “indiscriminate targeting” of “distinguished” IAS officers and others in cases involving “small sums of money” and said the government was in “deep slumber” when it was being done.
“CBI has received the ultimate certificate from the one who has the best ringside seat, the Finance Minister (on leave): ‘Adventurism and megalomania have overtaken investigators,” he said in a series of tweets referring to the remarks of Jaitley, who was critical of the CBI planning to question eminent bankers like K.V. Kamath in the Chanda Kochhar case of cheating and fraud in the ICICI-Videocon loan case.
Jaitley had blasted the Central Bureau of Investigation for naming the “who’s who of the banking industry” without concentrating on the “bull’s eye” in the case.
“Glad that the Finance Minister’s conscience and legal acumen have finally stirred to condemn the indiscriminate targeting of eminent bankers (in cases where the allegations are about thousands of crores of rupees),” Chidambaram said.
“They were in slumber when there was indiscriminate targeting of distinguished IAS officers (in cases where the allegations are about small sums of money),” the former Finance Minister said in an apparent reference to his own Aircel Maxis case in which a number of IAS officers have been named in the charge sheet.
“What cause are we serving or actually hurting? asks the Finance Minister. He knows the answer. The cause of justice,” the Congress leader said taking a jibe at Jaitley.
“There is a fundamental difference between investigative adventurism and professional investigation,” Jaitley had written in a Facebook blog post blaming the CBI for casting the net too wide, a day after the agency filed an FIR against Kochhar and others in the ICICI case.
Jaitley, who is now minister without portfolio, had said while adventurism leads to media leaks, ruins reputations and eventually invites strictures and not convictions, professional investigation targets the real accused on the basis of actual and admissible evidence and rules out fanciful presumptions.
“One of the reasons why our conviction rates are poor is that adventurism and megalomania overtake our investigators and professionalism takes the back seat,” Jaitley wrote.
On Thursday, the CBI lodged an FIR against former ICICI Bank chief Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and industrialist V.N. Dhoot in an Rs 3,250-crore loan involving the Videocon Group and the ICICI Bank.