BJP raises stink over Chidambaram 'helping' client in fraud case


Already under attack in the 2G spectrum allocation controversy, home minister P Chidambaram on Thursday came under renewed fire from the opposition for a home ministry letter advising the Delhi government to withdraw police cases against a Delhi-based hotelier.


The BJP that forced Lok Sabha to adjourn for the day on the issue - alleged that Chidambaram had favoured SP Gupta, chairman of Sunair Hotels Ltd, by misusing his office for a "former client", a reference to Chidambaram allegedly representing the company in court proceedings between 1999 and 2003.


The Opposition also forced the Rajya Sabha to adjourn for an hour but moved on to discuss suicides by farmers.


In a damage control exercise, the Capital's Lieutenant Governor (LG) also nullified his approval for withdrawing the criminal cases.


A Delhi government statement said the director of prosecution had reviewed the evidence and recommended that the trial may proceed further.


"This recommendation has been approved by the LG on 15 December," it said.


But this failed to satisfy the Opposition, which stuck to its demand that the home minister be sacked.


BJP leader Yashwant Sinha asked PM Manmohan Singh to sack the minister who he said "is not just guilty of improper conduct but of a criminal offence".


Chidambaram wasn't in Parliament when the accusations were levelled. He already faces a boycott by the BJP that hold him as guilty as A Raja in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.


As the Opposition continued to attack Chidambaram, the Congress and home secretary RK Singh spoke in defence of the minister, insisting that he and other officers weren't in the loop on the letter sent to the Delhi government.


"The home ministry has never said that the case should be withdrawn. The home minister categorically wrote on the file that only the advice of the law ministry should be forwarded to the Delhi government and no advice should be given from the ministry of home affairs. There was no question of conflict of interest," he said.


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