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Wednesday 29 January 2020

Chidambaram on being denied bail again: Am I Ranga-Billa?

Lawyer Kapil Sibal, speaking for client P Chidambaram in the court, said the former minister was being treated like infamous killers of 1978

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who has already spent 98 days in custody for his alleged involvement in the INX Media case, expressing displeasure over his bail application being rejected despite the court’s dismissal of the ED’s arguments, today drew an analogy with an infamous murder case of Delhi where two kidnappers Ranga and Billa had murdered a school-going student and raped and killed his sister.

Chidambaram told a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court that the High Court had rejected his bail plea in fear he would tamper with the evidence and/or escape. His lawyer Kapil Sibal said that the court had dismissed Chidambaram’s bail plea due to the allegations being serious.

Sibal told Justice R Banumati heading the bench if the court’s plea of ​​serious charges is accepted, his client would never get bail. Sibal said that keeping Chidambaram in jail suggested the High Court was under stress, which would send a wrong message. Arguing on behalf of Chidambaram, Sibal said that “It seems as if I am Ranga-Billa. If I am not released on bail, it will send a wrong message to this country.”

Ranga and Billa

Ranga (Kuljeet Singh) and Billa (Jasbir Singh) were two dangerous criminals from Bombay who had come to Delhi soon after their release from Arthur Road Jail. They kidnapped two teenagers in August 1978 and brutally killed them.

The victims were Geeta Chopra, a 16-year-old second-year student in the Jesus and Mary College, New Delhi, and her brother, Sanjay, a 14-year-old student in Class 10 of Modern School. Their father, Madan Mohan Chopra, was a Captain in the Indian Navy. They lived in the Officer’s Enclave in Dhaula Kuan.

Kuljeet Singh (alias Ranga Kush) and Jasbir Singh (alias Billa) were convicted and sentenced to death under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code, read with Section 34 (common intention), by an additional sessions judge in Delhi. They were also convicted for crimes under Section 363 (kidnapping), 365 (kidnapping with unlawful confinement), 366 (kidnapping a woman with intention of sexual intercourse) and 367 (kidnapping with intention to cause hurt), read with Section 34.

Chidambaram’s jail travails notwithstanding, he isn’t oblivious of the political developments in the country, especially the turmoil in Maharashtra. On Wednesday, he congratulated the Shiv Sena-NCP-INC alliance for forming a coalition government. He appealed to the parties to work together to implement the shared interests of farmer welfare, investment, employment, social justice and women and child welfare while keeping away separate interests of each party.

Not known to be fluent in Hindi, Chidambaram says his family is helping him tweet in the language.

In another tweet, Chidambaram referred to the governor of Maharashtra’s action of last Saturday, asking why he couldn’t wait till 9 AM.

But he does realise the task of the coalition government wouldn’t be easy. He wrote on Twitter, “Those who understand parliamentary democracy will agree with me that when coalition governments of complex, diverse and different thinking form for society, they learn to compromise and agree on a common minimum programme.”

Earlier, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra reached Tihar Jail on Wednesday and met Chidambaram. Sources said that the duo expressed solidarity with the former finance minister during the meeting that lasted about 45 min.

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