Congress leader Karti Chidambaram has written to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, alleging that his privileges and rights as a parliamentarian were breached by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) when they confiscated work documents during a raid last week.
"I have become the victim of a grossly illegal and patently unconstitutional action. The Central Bureau of Investigation, in the garb of conducting an investigation into an 11-year-old decision of the Government of India in which I have absolutely no involvement, raided my residence in Delhi," he wrote in the letter to Om Birla.
"In the course of this so-called raid, certain officers of the CBI seized my highly confidential and sensitive personal notes and papers pertaining to the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Information and Technology, of which I am a Member," Mr Chidambaram said.
I have written to the Honourable @loksabhaspeaker@ombirlakota bringing to his attention the gross breach of Parliamentary Privilege by the #CBI@LokSabhaSectt@ShashiTharoor@MahuaMoitra@jawharsircar@JohnBrittas@ANI@the_hindu@PTI_News@IndiaToday@IndianExpress@INCIndiapic.twitter.com/OiithnaAqk— Karti P Chidambaram (@KartiPC) May 27, 2022
"Shockingly, even my draft notes and questions which I had intended to ask witnesses summoned to the Committee, were also seized. Furthermore. My handwritten notes pertaining to the depositions made to the Committee by Witnesses were also seized - for reasons best known to the Agency," he wrote.
"These actions by the CBI, in so far as they relate to interference with my duties as a Parliamentarian, amount to a direct assault upon the democratic principles on which our Parliament is founded. I, therefore, urge you to take immediate cognizance of this issue, which is a brazen breach of my Parliamentary privilege," the Congress leader added.
Mr Chidambaram said he and his family have been "targets of a relentless campaign by the present Government and its Investigating Agencies, who are trying to silence our voices of dissent by foisting one fake case after another" over the course of the past few years.
"Such targeted intimidation of a Member of the House amounts to a breach of privilege," he said.
The Congress MP was summoned for the second day by the CBI on Friday after being questioned for nine hours over accusations of partaking in an alleged "visa scam". "It's their privilege to call me, and it's my duty to go," he told the media on his way.Advertisement
The son of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram has been accused of taking Rs 50 lakh as a bribe along with his close aide S Bhaskararaman by a top executive of a company which was setting up a power plant in Punjab.
The CBI in its First Information Report, or FIR, said the work for setting up the power project was being executed by a Chinese company and was running behind schedule. To re-issue visas for 263 Chinese workers on the project, the Rs 50 lakh bribe was allegedly paid, according to the CBI FIR.Advertisement
Karti Chidambaram has denied all the allegations. "If this is not harassment, not a witch hunt, then what is?" the Congress MP said in a statement yesterday.