Former minister p chithbaram subjected to marathon two-hour cross-examination– judge pushpa sathyanarayanan


CHENNAI
Never looked at caste of electorate: Chidambaram to HC


P. Chidambaram | Photo Credit: B. VELANKANNI RAJ
Mohamed Imranullah S.CHENNAI 05 MARCH 2020 00:46 ISTUPDATED: 05 MARCH 2020 00:46 IST


 
 
 
 
Congress leader subjected to marathon two-hour cross-examination
During cross-examination in connection with a case challenging his election from Sivaganga in 2009, former Union Minister P. Chidambaram told the Madras High Court on Wednesday that he had “never looked at the caste of the electorate” and did not know the “number of voters in each caste” in the constituency.
Mr. Chidambaram’s response came to a question during the course of a more than two-hour long cross examination before Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana. He was asked if he knew that numerically, voters belonging to the caste of the election petitioner R.S. Raja Kannappan were more than any other caste in Sivaganga parliamentary constituency.
Advocates K. Rajendra Kumar and G. Saravana Kumar cross examined the former Minister after describing him as a “formidable witness.” The election petition alleged that Mr. Chidambaram had secured victory through corrupt practices and by the misuse of his then position as Union Home Minister.
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He denied all allegations in his counter affidavit and during cross examination.
When asked if he was aware of the silence period maintained before the day of polling, he gave an expansive reply that all candidates should stop campaigning at 5 p.m. on the day which falls two days prior to the day of election. “Yet, on May 12, 2009, your son was seen at Rajagambiram village in Manamadurai Taluk at 7:30 pm?” the advocate asked and the former Minister said: “There is no bar on anyone traveling on the previous day of election. Party workers and leaders meet each other. In that context, my son did visit a few villages.”
“But there is a bar on distributing money, is it not?” the lawyer queried and pat came the reply: “There is a bar for distributing money on any day and place during an election.” The legal duel continued with the advocate claiming, “Sir, your son was accompanied by 24 men in two cars,” and Mr. Chidambaram quipping, “No, 24 men can’t fit in two cars. He was accompanied by four or five party workers.” At this point of time, the lawyer, in a lighter vein, asked: “Sir, don’t you watch Tamil movies?” and pat came a counter-question: “Do you want this to be recorded in the court proceedings?” After a brief period of laughter and making it clear that he was just joking, the lawyer went on to ask why did the former Minister rush to Manamadurai police station on May 12, 2009.
“I received information that the car in which my son was travelling had been surrounded by a mob. Therefore, I rushed to Rajagambiram. There, I was told that the local police had safely escorted my son and other party workers to Manamadurai police station. So, I went to Manamadurai police station,” he explained.
“Sir, wasn’t your visit to Manamadurai police station an opprobrium considering that you were the Union Home Minister at that time?” the lawyer asked and the reply was: “Please remember, I was a candidate when I received information that my son and party workers were safely escorted to Manamadurai police station. It was my duty to go to the police station and find out what happened.”
The advocate went on to state: “Sir, I say that your presence is enough to send a chill down the spine of the Inspector of Police who, in his genupecting (sic) manner, obliged to you by not registering a case against your son on a complaint given by Anbalagan (of AIADMK) but promptly took the complaint lodged by Saravanan (driver of Mr. Karti Chidambaram) on file.”
To this, Mr. Chidambaram said: “I am sorry, you are underestimating the police. I had no knowledge of any complaint lodged by Mr. Anbalagan. On Saravanan’s complaint, I was told that action will be taken in accordance with law. Immediately, I left Manamadurai police station.”
“Sir, who exactly uttered the words ‘action will be taken’ to you?” the former Minister was asked and he said: “May be the Inspector or the Sub Inspector or even the writer (in the police station). I don’t remember now.” After the marathon counter examination, the advocates said they had some more questions and hence the judge adjourned the case to Monday.
Making it clear that the examination should be concluded on Monday and oral arguments by the end of this month, the judge impressed upon the need to give a quietus to the election petition pending for more than a decade.

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