Veteran congressman and senior lawyer P Chidambaram had to face protests from lawyers and party supporters in the Calcutta High Court today as he defended a move by the Bengali government. The case was initiated by the head of state Congress, Adhir Chowdhury, who disputed the Trinamool congressional government’s sale of Metro Dairy shares to agricultural processing firm Keventer.
The protesters – lawyers claiming to support the congress – accused Mr Chidambaram of “playing with the party’s sentiments”.
Videos of the place showed how lawyers Mr. Chidambaram follows and criticizes “leadership like this that is responsible” for the congressional downward spiral. “Chidambaram goes back” slogans were also heard.
Adhir Chowdhury – whose bitter political rivalry with Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee is known – has filed a petition in court to request an investigation into the sale, which he said was done at a “throwaway price”. Mr Chidambaram represented the private firm.
Mr Chowdhury’s lawyer, Bikash Bhattacharya, claims that the sale adversely affected the interests of the state. Keventer, he said, had already sold part of the shares at a much higher price to a Singapore-based company.
“This is a free country. I have no comment. Why should I comment on this?” an amused Mr Chidambaram told PTI.
Adhir Chowdhury said the protest was a “natural response” from congressional supporters.
However, he acknowledged that Mr. Chidambaram as an attorney has the right to represent any client. “It’s a professional world. It depends on the person … no one can dictate to him or her,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.