Chennai

Allegation of money distribution imaginary, Chidambaram tells Madras HC

Chidambaram cross-examined in HC over an election petition

Former Union Minister P. Chidambaram on Monday stoutly denied the allegation of having distributed money to voters when he contested from the Sivaganga Parliamentary constituency in 2009, and claimed that the allegation levelled by his prime opponent R.S. Raja Kannappan (then in AIADMK, but now in DMK) was imaginary and not backed by evidence.

During the cross-examination before Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana of the Madras High Court in an election petition pending for over a decade, he said: “There is no evidence tendered before this honourable court about distribution of money at any place during the elections. Your allegations are totally imaginary and I deny your allegations.”

The answer was given in response to a volley of questions posed by advocates K. Rajendra Kumar and G. Saravana Kumar, who showed Mr. Chidambaram a paragraph from his book ‘A View from the Outside’ and asked whether money distributed to voters could be treated as an investment since the book claims that “politics, today, is business”.

Answering their questions, the former Minister said: “The reference to politics being business was in a different context as stated in the previous paragraph. The context was regarding allocation of petrol pumps and residential plots. That was the context in which I made the remark that you have quoted... I have not made any reference to money being distributed to voters.”

When the lawyers claimed that the results of all other parliamentary constituencies in the State were declared around 1 pm, but the results of Sivaganga constituency alone was declared only after 8 pm, he said: “I am not aware of the time when the election results were declared in all other constituencies. I know that some results were declared after Sivaganga.”

Denying a suggestion that around half past noon on May 13, 2009 the national trends showed that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) would come to power at the Centre for a second consecutive term, he said, “At 12:30 pm, very few election results had been declared. Therefore, there is no question of coming to the conclusion that the UPA had won the election or will form the next government.”

Claiming that he officially came to know about his lead in the elections only when he was in the Returning Officer’s room between 4 pm and 4:30 pm on that day, Mr. Chidambaram denied the petitioner’s allegation that of the election officials, in connivance, having transferred the votes secured by Mr. Kannappan to his kitty.

After the counsel for the election petitioner completed the cross-examination, an advocate representing another contestant, R. Rajiv, who secured around 2,500 votes in the election, sought the permission of the court to cross-examine the former Minister. Taking strong exception to such a request, senior counsel G. Masilamani said it should not be acceded to.

“First, he (counsel for Mr. Rajiv) said he will ask two questions. Now, he is saying three or four questions. I say no question at all,” the senior counsel said and urged the court to discharge his client.

The election petition is listed for arguments on March 30.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 4:16:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/allegation-of-money-distribution-imaginary-chidambaram-tells-madras-hc/article31027132.ece

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