Now Chidamabaram caught in Wikileaks muddle

Posted By: Biswajeet Panda
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P Chidambaram
New Delhi, Mar 19: There is no stopping to the embarrassment being heaped by the Wikileaks on the central government. After a series of damaging disclosures, the veracity of which are yet to be established, the leaked cables were at it again. This time it was the turn of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram to face the music.

Leaked cable interactions reveal that into the second month of the National Investigative Agency's (NIA) being, Chidamabaram had told Director of the FBI Robert Mueller that the agency didn't have enough legal protection as its powers could be challenged in the court for violating constitutional provisions on Centre-State relations, said The Hindu quoting a secret US Embassy cable dated March 4, 2009, accessed through WikiLeaks.

Steven White, Charge d'Affaires has been quoted in the cables accessed by the English daily as saying, “(Chidambaram) conceded that he was coming 'perilously close to crossing constitutional limits' in empowering the NIA. He explained the concept of a 'federal' crime does not exist in India, with law and order the responsibility of the state governments."

The NIA came into being after the Parliament passed the National Investigation Agency Bill within a month of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. As a federal agency, the NIA has been entrusted with the power to supersede the State police in the investigation and trial of offences under Acts specified in its Schedule.

The offences relate to terrorist acts such as hijacking, bomb blasts, attacks on nuclear installations and any others deemed as challenging the country's sovereignty and integrity.

The Wikileaks has already put the government in a dock by citing a ruling party worker as showing chests of money to buy votes of the MPs to muster support for the UPA-1 government in the trust votes of July 2008. The left parties had withdrawn support to the Manmohan Singh government over the Indo-US nuclear deal.

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