Chidambaram in fresh soup; conflict of interest?

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P Chidambaram
New Delhi, Dec 14: The latest media reports are rubbing salt in the wounds of P Chidambaram, present Union Home minister. Chidambaram, who is already facing the wrath of the opposition over his alleged role in 2G spectrum scam as then Telecom Minister, has now hit the headlines with an other fresh controversy.

According to CNN IBN reports, Chidambaram after taking over the Home Minister's office, post Mumbai attacks, allegedly pursued his former client's case to get the FIRs filed against five star Metropolitan Hotel, withdrawn.

Chidambaram, when he was an Opposition MP represented a case of Sunair Hotels, owned by SP Gupta.

Mr Gupta and VLS Finanace Ltd, which claims to have funded Metropolitan Hotel in Delhi, was engaged in legal battles since 1999. Chidambaram fought one of the disputes for Sunair Hotels in Delhi High Court.

Though cases were tried in civil courts, VLS Ltd filed three FIRs against Sunair Hotels in different police stations in Delhi for defrauding the former.

According to CNN Ibn's reports, now it has come into light that Chidambaram after becoming Home Minister, still continued his past interests as advocate and personally worked on representations sent by Sunair Hotels, pleading for withdrawal of the criminal cases.

Following this, Ministry sent number of letters to Delhi police and police commissioner seeking clarifications and status reports so that a decision on withdrawing cases against Sunair Hotels could be made.

Meanwhile, in Jan 17, 2006, Delhi police had filed a complaint against SP Gupta and his associates on a forgery case. The latter was booked for allegedly misusing Sonia Gandhi and other MPs' names and letterhead to lodge a complaint against VLR ltd.

Home Ministry Joint Secretary M Gopal Reddy in his reply on a questionnaire sent by the concerned channel to clarify its position and explain stand on possible conflict of interest report, has said, "The Home Minister is unable to recall at this distance of time whether he appeared in a case concerning M/s Sunair Hotels Pvt Ltd at any time between 1999 and 2003. When the file was submitted to the Home Minister, he noted on 4/5/2011 that MHA should not give any directions and MHA may only convey the advice of the Ministry of Law."

However, the Law Ministry in March had already given its opinion in a letter.

The ministry had written, "We are of the opinion that it is not appropriate to interfere in the investigation. However, if the representation of M/s Sunair Hotels Ltd falls under the ingredients of the said section, i.e.321 of CrPC, then the Ministry of Home Affairs may take suitable steps."

Law Ministry drifted away from the issue saying that it was on Home Ministry to decide whether law in this case allows for withdrawal of the FIRs, a direction was promptly issued in the last week of November. It ordered the withdrawal of three FIRs, including one alleging misuse of the name of Sonia Gandhi and forging letterheads of several MPs, against Mr Gupta.

Replying to this, Home Ministry said, "The draft of the letter sent to Law Ministry was not put up to the Joint Secretary or the Home Secretary or the Home Minister. And that the Home Minister had seen this file only once i.e. on May 4, 2011 and the file had not been submitted to him for orders at any point of time before or after that date."

However, this alleging reports have pushed Chidambaram into a fresh soup when he his already reeling under various charges. This would indeed fetch strength to Opposition to trash the political image of the Home Minister, though it is already good at it.

Pitting on the media reports on Thursday, Dec 15 Opposition BJP created commotion in Rajya Sabha persuading Speaker to adjourn the House till noon. This news will only severer the boycott against Chidambaram.

However, Chidambaram has another question on his plate to be answered by himself. Indeed, this has raised wary of the possible conflict of interest at Home Ministry.

OneIndia News

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