A day after walking out of the Tihar Jail, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram launched a scathing, stinging attack against the Narendra Modi government over the current economic slowdown. “Even after 7 months into the fiscal year, the BJP government believes that the problems faced by the economy are cyclical. The government is wrong. It is wrong because it is clueless. It is unable to look for the obvious clues because it is stubborn and mulish in defending its catastrophic mistakes like demonetisation, flawed GST, tax terrorism, regulatory overkill, protectionism, and centralized control of decision-making in the PMO,” Chidambaram said in a brutal takedown of the Modi government.
“Government is calling the present slowdown ‘cyclical’. Thank god they have not called it ‘seasonal’. It is ‘structural’ and the government has no solutions or reforms that would address the structural problems,” he said. Targeting the BJP government, Chidambaram said that, “the UPA lifted 140 million people out of poverty between 2004 and 2014. The NDA has, since 2016, pushed millions of people below the poverty line.”
While granting bail to 74-year-old former finance minister who has been in custody for 106 days, the apex court restrained him from either giving "any press interviews" or "any public comment" in connection with the case regarding him or other co-accused. Regarding Enforcement Directorate's contention that one of the witnesses was not prepared to be confronted with him as they are from the same state, the top court said Chidambaram "cannot be held responsible" for this when there was no material to indicate that he or anyone on his behalf had "restrained or threatened" the witness.
While setting aside the November 15 verdict of the Delhi High Court denying him bail in the case, a bench headed by Justice R Banumathi said Chidambaram will have to make himself available for interrogation during further probe as and when required by the ED. The bench, also comprising justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, said Chidambaram "shall not tamper with evidence or attempt to intimidate or influence the witnesses" and not leave the country without specific orders of trial court. It said Chidambaram would be released on bail on executing bail bonds of Rs 2 lakh with two sureties of like amount.
Reacting on the Supreme Court’s order, senior ex-Congress chief Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter and expressed his happiness. "Mr P Chidambaram's 106 day incarceration was vengeful and vindictive. I'm glad that the SC has granted him bail. I'm confident that he will be able to prove his innocence in a fair trial," Gandhi said on micro-blogging site.