In a major political setback to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, the Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) on Thursday directed him to face trial in an election petition, holding that there was adequate “statement of material facts” against him.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Chidambaram had trounced his principal rival R S Raja Kannappan of the AIADMK by a slender margin of 3,354 votes in the Sivaganga constituency.
Alleging foul play, Raja Kannappan had challenged Chidambaram’s election raising allegations against him. Chidambaram had filed a “strike off” petition praying that the charges against him may be dropped.
Dismissing the petition, Justice K Venkataraman held that “the election petition contains adequate statement of material facts on which the allegation of irregularities or illegalities in counting were found.” Therefore, the averments in the election petition were not required to be struck down at this stage. However, the court provided a minor relief for the Home Minister by ordering the deletion of two allegations levelled against him in the election petition.
In his petition, Raja Kannappan had alleged that Chidambaram had won through unfair means, including by distributing money to voters.