P. Chidambaram
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha for Maharashtra
Assumed office
5 July 2016
Minister of Finance
In office
31 July 2012 – 26 May 2014
Prime MinisterManmohan Singh
Preceded byPranab Mukherjee
Succeeded byArun Jaitley
In office
22 May 2004 – 30 November 2008
Prime MinisterManmohan Singh
Preceded byJaswant Singh
Succeeded byPranab Mukherjee
In office
1 May 1997 – 19 March 1998
Prime MinisterI. K. Gujral
Preceded byI. K. Gujral
Succeeded byYashwant Sinha
In office
1 June 1996 – 21 April 1997
Prime MinisterH. D. Deve Gowda
Preceded byJaswant Singh
Succeeded byI. K. Gujral
26th Home Minister of India
In office
29 November 2008 – 31 July 2012
Prime MinisterManmohan Singh
Preceded byShivraj Patil
Succeeded bySushilkumar Shinde
Minister of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions
In office
30 November 2009 – 31 July 2012
Prime MinisterManmohan Singh
Preceded byShivraj Patil
Succeeded bySushilkumar Shinde
In office
26 December 1985 – 2 December 1989
Prime MinisterRajiv Gandhi
Preceded byKamakhya Prasad Singh Deo
Succeeded byMargaret Alva
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
Preceded byR. Swaminathan
Succeeded byE. M. Sudarsana Natchiappan
In office
Preceded byE. M. Sudarsana Natchiappan
Succeeded byP. R. Senthilnathan
ConstituencySivaganga, Tamil Nadu
Personal details
Born (1945-09-16) 16 September 1945 (age 78)
Kandanur, Madras Presidency, British India
(now in Tamil Nadu, India)
Political party Indian National Congress (Before 1996; 2004–present)
Other political
Tamil Maanila Congress (1996–2001)
Congress Jananayaka Peravai (2001–2004)
SpouseNalini Chidambaram
ChildrenKarti Chidambaram (son)
Alma materUniversity of Madras
Harvard University

Palaniappan Chidambaram (born 16 September 1945)[1] is an Indian politician and former attorney who currently serves as Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha[2] and formerly served as the Union Minister of Finance of India.

He was the Finance Minister starting in May 2004 through 2014, except for a three and a half year stint – beginning November 2008 – as Home Minister, in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Chidambaram returned as Finance Minister in July 2012, succeeding Pranab Mukherjee, who demitted office to become the President of India.[3][4]

Early life and education

Chidambaram was born to Kandanur L. Ct. L. Palaniappa Chettiar and Lakshmi Achi in Kanadukathan in the Sivaganga District in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. His maternal grandfather was Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar, a wealthy merchant and banker from Chettinad.[5]

Chidambaram did his schooling at the Madras Christian College Higher Secondary School[6] he passed the one-year pre University course from Loyola College, Chennai. After graduating with a BSc degree in statistics from the Presidency College, Chennai, he completed his Bachelor of Laws from the Madras Law College (now Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College) and his MBA from Harvard Business School in the class of 1968. He also holds a master's degree from Loyola College in Chennai.[7]

During this time his politics inclined to the left and in 1969 he joined N. Ram, later editor of The Hindu, and the women's activist Mythili Sivaraman in starting a journal called the Radical Review.[8]

Chidambaram has two brothers and one sister.[1] His father's business interests covered textiles, trading and plantations in India. He chose to concentrate on his legal practice and stayed away from the family business.[citation needed]

He enrolled as a lawyer in the Madras High Court, becoming a senior advocate in 1984. He had offices in Delhi and Chennai and practiced in the Supreme Court and various high courts of India.

Political career

P. Chidambaram in his office after taking over the charge of the Union Minister of Finance in New Delhi on May 24, 2004

Chidambaram was elected to the Lok Sabha (Lower House) of the Indian Parliament from the Sivaganga constituency of Tamil Nadu in general elections held in 1984. He was a union leader for MRF and worked his way up in the Congress party. He was the Tamil Nadu Youth Congress president and then the general secretary of the Tamil Nadu Pradesh Congress Committee unit. He was inducted into the Union (Indian federal) Council of Ministers in the government headed by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on 21 September 1985 as a Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Commerce and then in the Ministry of Personnel. His main actions during his tenure in this period was to control the price of tea and he has been criticized by the Government of Sri Lanka for destroying the Sri Lankan tea trade by fixing the prices of the commodity in India using state power. He was elevated to the rank of Minister of State in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions in January 1986. In October of the same year, he was appointed to the Ministry of Home Affairs as Minister of State for Internal Security. He continued to hold both offices until general elections were called in 1989. The Indian National Congress government was defeated in the general elections of 1989.

In June 1991, Chidambaram was inducted as a Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Commerce, by the then Prime Minister Mr P V Narasimha Rao; a post he held till July 1992. He was later re-appointed Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Commerce in February 1995 and held the post until April 1996. He made some radical changes in India's export-import (EXIM) policy, while at the Ministry of Commerce.[citation needed]

In 1996, Chidambaram quit the Congress party and joined a breakaway faction of the Tamil Nadu state unit of the Congress party called the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC). In the general elections held in 1996, TMC along with a few national and regional level opposition parties, formed a coalition government. The coalition government came as a big break for Chidambaram, who was given the key cabinet portfolio of Finance. His 1997 budget is still remembered as the dream budget[9] for the Indian economy. The coalition government was a short-lived one (it fell in 1998), but he was reappointed to the same portfolio in the Government formed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2004.

Deputy Prime Minister of South Korea Hyun Oh-seok with P. Chidambaram in 2013

In 1998, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took the reins of the Government for the first time and it was not until May 2004 that Chidambaram would be back in Government. Chidambaram became Minister of Finance again in the Congress party – Communist Party United Progressive Alliance government on 24 May 2004. During the intervening period Chidambaram made some experiments in his political career, leaving the TMC in 2001 and forming his own party, the Congress Jananayaka Peravai, largely focused on the regional politics of Tamil Nadu. The party failed to take off into mainstream Tamil Nadu or national politics. Just before the elections of 2004, he merged his party with the mainstream Congress party and when the Congress won the election, he was inducted into the Council of Ministers under the new Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as cabinet Minister of Finance.[10]

On 30 November 2008, he was appointed the Union Home Minister following the resignation of Shivraj Patil who had come under intense pressure to tender his resignation following a series of terror attacks in India, including the Mumbai attacks on 26 November 2008. The public response to this move was generally favourable given Chidambaram's reputation for competence and efficiency.

He has been credited with taking the bold decision of prioritising elections above corporate demands to deploy security for the 2009 Indian Premier League.[11]

In 2009, Chidambaram was re-elected from the Sivaganga Lok Sabha constituency in the Congress and retained the Home ministry.[12] He was one of the representatives of the Central Government when a tri-party agreement was signed with the Gorkha Hill Council and the Government of West Bengal, an agreement which was a result of Mamata Banerjee's effort to end a decade long unrest in the hills of Darjeeling.[13]

The Indian National Congress appointed P. Chidambaram as one of thirteen senior spokespersons on 15 September 2014.[14] Sensing defeat, he ceded his seat to his son Karti in 2014, which resulted in electoral defeat for his son .[15][16][17][18]

Family and personal life

Chidambaram's mother, Lakshmi Acchi, was the daughter of Sir Annamalai Chettiar, a banker and merchant, and was granted the title of Raja by the British Raj. Annamalai Chettiar was the founder of Annamalai University and United India Insurance Company Limited. His brother Ramaswami Chettiar was the founder of Indian Bank and the co-founder of another major banks.[19][20][21][22][23]

He is married to Nalini Chidambaram, daughter of Justice (Retd.) P.S. Kailasam, Supreme Court, and Mrs. Soundra Kailasam, a renowned Tamil poet and author, who is a senior advocate practising in the Madras High Court and in the Supreme Court of India. He has a son, Karti P. Chidambaram, who graduated with a BBA degree from the University of Texas, Austin, and a Masters in Law from the University of Cambridge. Karti, a Congress Party's AICC member, is active in Tamil Nadu state politics. Karti is married to Dr. Srinidi Rangarajan, a well-known Bharathanatiyam dancer and medical doctor, working with the Apollo Group of Hospitals in Chennai. Karti and Srinidhi have a daughter, Aditi Nalini Chidambaram.


Chidambaram was criticised for his ministry's failure to prevent the 13 July 2011 Mumbai bombings, despite massive investments in security following the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Three years after the 2008 attacks, security preparations were proven to be inadequate with channel breakdown and failures in modernising, procuring, and installing security equipment.[24] Chidambaram defended the agencies under his ministry against the charge of intelligence failure with the response which was later ridiculed by many people in India and its media:

Having no intelligence in this case, however, does not mean that there was a failure on part of the intelligence agencies.[25] There has been no intelligence failure. There was no intelligence warning about 13/7.[26]

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa wrote to the Chief Election Commissioner in 2011 that data entry operators at Sivaganga had transferred 3,400 votes polled by Kannappan from 11 polling stations in Chidambaram's favour. News reports suggest that on May 16, 2009, the AIADMK candidate Raja Kannappan was declared elected by 3555 votes at 12.30 pm, and the news was also broadcast on television. But in a dramatic reversal a few hours later, P Chidambaram was declared elected by 3354 votes at 4.30 pm, and was confirmed as the winner after a recount at 8.30 pm.[27]

On 7 April 2009, India's home minister P. Chidambaram was assaulted by Sikh journalist Jarnail Singh during a press conference in Delhi on the issue of a "clean chit" to Jagdish Tytler. Singh, who writes for the Hindi daily newspaper Dainik Jagaran was dissatisfied with Chidamabaram's answer to a question on the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) "clean chit" regarding Jagdish Tytler's involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. It was the first shoe throwing incident in India.[28][29]

Chidambaram was part of Vedanta's legal team and on its board before becoming finance minister in 2004 [42].[30] In 2002, a year before UK's Financial Services Authority allowed Sterlite to reconstitute itself as Vedanta Resources Plc, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) served a show-cause notice on three of Chairman Anil Agarwal's family.The notice was a demand that Sterlite directors answer allegations about using their holding companies-Volcan and Twinstar-to avoid paying taxes on forex transactions. It was a polite way of saying there was prima facie evidence, dating back to 1993, that the Agarwals were guilty of money laundering. For seven years the case dragged on in courts as Sterlite employed top lawyers to use every possible delaying tactic. P. Chidambaram argued in Sterlite's defence in a 2003 Bombay High Court case related to the ED's allegations.The following year, Chidambaram found himself appointed non-executive director on the board of Vedanta Resources Plc.And very soon, he became finance minister in UPA 1.

Subramanian Swamy alleged that in 2006 a company controlled by Karti Chidambaram, the son of Minister of Finance P. Chidambaram, received a five-percent share of Aircel to get part of 40 billion paid by Maxis Communications for the 74-percent share of Aircel. According to Swamy, Chidambaram withheld Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance of the deal until his son received the five-percent share in Siva's company.[31] The issue was raised a number of times in Parliament by the opposition, which demanded Chidambaram's resignation.[32] Although he and the government denied the allegations,[33] The Pioneer and India Today reported the existence of documents showing that Chidambaram delayed approval of the foreign direct investment proposal by about seven months.[31][34][35] It was alleged that P Chidambaram's son, Karti Chidambaram was a direct beneficiary of the 2G spectrum case. Karti Chidambaram's company Advantage Strategic Consulting had five per cent stake in Aircel Televentures, and father P Chidambaram ensured that the FIPB clearance for Aircel-Maxis deal would be given only if his son Karti's company got shares in Aircel Ventures.[36] Also ED (Enforcement Directorate) is investigating in his involvement in Aircel deal.[37] In 2012 and subsequently in 2016, information of wide scale corruption by Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram and Robert Vadera with the help of his father's position were unveiled in prominent newspapers and media in India, including through the Airtel-Maxis deal and the Uttar Pradesh NRHM scam.[38] Karti has also been found to be the recipient of vast sums of income from shell companies partly owned by his friends, and located in Mauritius and Singapore. He has been found to hold real estate in the United Kingdom and other nations with money vastly in excess of his legitimate earnings.[39] Simultaneously, Chidambaram and his son Karti have been dogged with allegations of corruption, misuse of position, insider trading and money laundering.[38][39][40][41] Senior counsel Ram Boolchand Jethmalani's letter to Chidambaram on 6 December 2013 accused him of acting in collusion with the NDTV and laundering Rs 5000 crores of money through Mauritius route back to India.[42]

The Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme (VDIS) 1997, which he announced when he was Finance Minister with the United Front government, was condemned by the Controller and Auditor General of India as abusive because of the loopholes that made it possible to fudge data to the financial advantage of the confessor.[40]

Books, research papers and journals

Chidambaram is a published author of several books.


Books featuring P. Chidambaram

See also


  1. ^ a b P Chidambaram Biography – About family, political life, awards won, history. Elections.in. Retrieved on 18 August 2016.
  2. ^ Piyush Goyal, Chidambaram, Suresh Prabhu, Sharad Yadav elected to Rajya Sabha – The Economic Times. Economictimes.indiatimes.com (3 June 2016). Retrieved on 2016-08-18.
  3. ^ "Home minister Shivraj Patil quits, Chidambaram to take over". The Times of India. 30 November 2008.
  4. ^ "Chidambaram new finance minister, Shinde gets home". Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  5. ^ Chidambaram, Wife Own Assets Worth Over Rs 20 Crore. news.outlookindia.com (23 April 2009). Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  6. ^ "Star-studded 175th b'day for MCC school". The Times of India. 7 October 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  7. ^ Meg Berté (MBA '00) – December 2005 – Alumni Bulletin – Harvard Business School. Alumni.hbs.edu. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  8. ^ Kohli, Namita (11 October 2013). "With fire in her belly". The Hindu. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  9. ^ "In fact: 18 years ago, a tax amnesty scheme that worked – and why". The Indian Express. 2 October 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  10. ^ "CJP merges with Congress". The Hindu. 26 November 2004.
  11. ^ A victory for the terrorist?. The Hindu. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  12. ^ "Chidambaram declared winner after 21 rounds of counting". The Hindu. 17 May 2009.
  13. ^ "Historic pact paves way for peace in Darjeeling hills". The Times of India. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  14. ^ "13 spokespersons chosen by Congress". Zeenews. Zee Media Bureau. 21 January 2014. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  15. ^ "Ahead of polls, Congress leaders want to retreat". Priyamvatha P. India Today. 13 March 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  16. ^ "Chidambaram wants his son to log in at Sivaganga". The Times of India. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  17. ^ "Jaya tears into Chidambaram in his home turf". V Mayilvaganan. The Times of India. 22 March 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  18. ^ "Election results 2014: As P Chidambaram power fails Karti comes fourth". V Mayilvaganan. The Times of India. 17 May 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  19. ^ M.Ct.M Group Education and Business Activities. Mctmib.org. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  20. ^ Tamil Nadu / Sivaganga News : IOB founder’s birth centenary celebrated. The Hindu (4 August 2008). Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  21. ^ Chennainagarathar.com Archived 1 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Chennainagarathar.com. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  22. ^ Welcome to Annamalai University Archived 22 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Annamalaiuniversity.ac.in. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  23. ^ Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar | Nagarathar Sangam of North America. Achi.org. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  24. ^ Bahree, Megha (16 July 2011). "Mumbai Response Points to Security Gaps". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 26 July 2011.
  25. ^ "Mumbai blasts: Chidambaram denies intelligence failure". India Today. 15 July 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2011.
  26. ^ "13/7 Mumbai blasts: Chidambaram rejects charges of intelligence failure". Yahoo! News. 14 July 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2011.
  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 July 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2014. ((cite web)): Unknown parameter |dead-url= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  28. ^ The Times of India. Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Retrieved on 18 August 2016.
  29. ^ "Journalist hurls shoes at". Indian Express. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  30. ^ "Chidambaram's 2007 flip-flop let Anil Agarwal's Vedanta take over Sesa Goa". https://www.indiatoday.in/. Retrieved 30 November 2018. ((cite web)): |first1= missing |last1= (help); External link in |website= (help)
  31. ^ a b "Govt's defence of Chidambaram rings hollow". The Pioneer. 8 May 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  32. ^ "Aircel-Maxis Deal: Parliament Disrupted Over PC's Role". Outlook India. 8 May 2012. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2012. ((cite news)): Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  33. ^ "Aircel-Maxis Deal: PC Dismisses Charges as Reckless". Outlook India. 10 May 2012. Archived from the original on 10 May 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2012. ((cite news)): Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  34. ^ "Document shows Chidambaram delayed Aircel-Maxis deal by 7 months". India Today. 8 May 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  35. ^ "Govt trapped in own web of deceit". The Pioneer. 9 May 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  36. ^ "Chidambaram's son a direct beneficiary of 2G scam: Subramaniam Swamy - Times of India".
  37. ^ "Chidambaram expected to appear before ED on Tuesday in Aircel-Maxis money laundering case". 4 June 2018.
  38. ^ a b Chidambaram, Narita (26 April 2012). "Subramanian Swamy exposes Chidambaram,son in corruption case". One India. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  39. ^ a b Verma, Gyan; Khanna, Pretika (4 March 2016). "Pioneer - the unlikely crusader". The Live Mint. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  40. ^ a b "Friend, father & philosopher of black money is Chidambaram". The Sunday Guardian. 27 October 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  41. ^ Correspondent, Special (21 December 2015). "ED searches Karti's office; Chidambaram alleges harassment". The Hindu. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  42. ^ "Ram Jethmalani's letter to P. Chidambaram in NDTV money laundering matter | Indian Black Money | Money Laundering".
42 #@# ^https://www.indiatoday.in/magazine/nation/story/20120123-vedanta-anil-agarwal-p-chidambaram-flip-flop-sesa-goa-756976-2012-01-14
Lok Sabha Preceded byR. V. Swaminathan Member of Parliamentfor Sivaganga 1984–1999 Succeeded byE. M. Sudarsana Natchiappan Preceded byE. M. Sudarsana Natchiappan Member of Parliamentfor Sivaganga 2004–2014 Succeeded byP.R. Senthilnathan Political offices Preceded byKamakhya Prasad Singh Deo Minister of State for Personnel,Public Grievances and Pensions 1985–1989 Succeeded byMargaret Alva Preceded byJaswant Singh Minister of Finance 1996–1997 Succeeded byInder Kumar Gujral Preceded byInder Kumar Gujral Minister of Finance 1997–1998 Succeeded byYashwant Sinha Preceded byJaswant Singh Minister of Finance 2004–2008 Succeeded byManmohan Singh Preceded byShivraj Patil Minister of Home Affairs 2008–2012 Succeeded bySushilkumar Shinde Preceded byManmohan Singh Minister of Finance 2012–2014 Succeeded byArun Jaitley