Congress leader P Chidambaram faced protest by lawyers of Congress Cell at Calcutta High Court where he was present in connection with a legal matter.
Alleging that Chidambaram is playing with the sentiment of the Congress party, the lawyers claimed that it was not appropriate for him to represent the company when West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury is fighting the case challenging the Trinamool Congress government’s sale of shares of Metro Dairy to the private company.
One of the participants in the protest, lawyer Kaustav Bagchi, said the former Union Finance Minister was appearing for an entity whose purchase of shares was being objected to by the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee president.
“Mr Chidambaram is a CWC (Congress Working Committee) member and a very important leader,” Bagchi said.
He said he led the protest “as a Congress worker” and not as a lawyer and added that party workers will mete out similar treatment to any leader who acts against the interests of Congress in West Bengal.
Chowdhury, when contacted by PTI, said that the protest was a “natural” reaction from some Congress supporters.
“I have heard that some Congress supporters present at Calcutta High Court protested. I believe this was their natural reaction,” Chowdhury said from Berhampore.
On party colleague Chidambaram fighting the case, Chowdhury said that in a professional world, one has the right to choose his or her options.
“It’s a professional world. It depends on the person… nobody can dictate to him or her,” he added.
When contacted by PTI, an amused Chidambaram said, “It’s a free country. I have no comments. Why should I comment on this?” Alleging that the West Bengal government had sold shares of Mother Dairy, which was then held jointly by the state and Keventer Agro, to the private partner at a “throwaway price”, Chowdhury had filed a PIL before the high court seeking an investigation into the matter.
The interest of the state was adversely affected by the sale, Chowdhury’s lawyer Bikash Bhattacharya claimed and added that Keventer had sold a part of the shares to a Singapore-based company at a much higher price soon after.
The state has claimed before the court that it has fairly sold the shares to Keventer and there was no irregularity in it.
The argument was supported by the company which was represented by Chidambaram.
The matter was fixed for further hearing on Thursday by a division bench presided over by Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava, before which the matter is being argued.
(With agency inputs)