CBI raids P Chidambaram, son Karti's residences; former minister says 'govt trying to silence me'
The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday morning conducted raids at the residences of former Finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram and his son Karti. The raids are in connection to a case related to INX Media's entry into India when Chidambaram was Finance minister.
According to reports, a team of CBI and I-T officials are carrying out raids at 16 locations across Tamil Nadu. Official sources in Delhi said the searches were spread across Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, and Gurugram. The case relates to alleged criminal misconduct in granting approvals to foreign investment deals.
According to CBI sources, they are investigating the charge that Karti Chidambaram's company received Rs. 10 lakh from INX Media, which got an FIPB or Foreign Exchange Promotion Board clearance for four crores but actually received Rs. 305 crores.
INX Media was then owned by former media tycoon Peter Mukerjea and his wife Indrani Mukerjea. Both are currently in prison in connection with the murder of her daughter Sheena Bora. The Mukerjeas exited INX Media in 2009.
The raids are also taking place at the Nungambakkam residence of P Chidambaram in Chennai, a senior police official said in Chennai. Unconfirmed reports said the raids were also on at Karaikudi, the hometown of Chidambaram.
Chidambaram, however, said that all clearances were granted as per law and there was no wrongdoing involved here.
“FIPB approval is granted in hundreds of cases. The five Secretaries who constitute the FIPB, the officials of the FIPB Secretariat and the competent authority in each case are the public officials. There is no allegation against any of them. There is no allegation against me,” he said in a statement issued to the media today.
“Every case was processed according to law and approval was granted or refused in accordance with the recommendations of the FIBP consisting of five Secretaries to the Government of India,” Chidambaram said, adding that the government was out to silence his critiques against itself.
“The government, using the CBI and other agencies, is targeting my son and his friends. The government's aim is to silence my voice and stop me from writing, as it has tried to do in the cases of leaders of Opposition parties, journalists, columnists, NGOs and civil society organizations. All I will say is, I shall continue to speak and write,” he said.
Karti Chidambaram is also facing money laundering probe linked to the dubious Aircel-Maxis deal and searches had been carried out at his offices previously too.
Have done no wrong, says Karti Chidambaram
Karti Chidambaram today said he has not done anything wrong and alleged a political vendetta behind the CBI raids against him in connection with the INX Media case.
"They have not seized any documents and cannot prove any charges against me. I have not done anything wrong," Karti told reporters here, reacting to the CBI raids at several places linked to his father and him.
Claiming that the central government was acting out a "poltical vendetta", he said the raid was being held to "silence the voice" of his father.
Ruling out a vendetta, Union Minister of State for Shipping, Pon Radhakrishnan, said in Madurai that searches being carried out by CBI were as part of its investigation into the INX media case.
DMK working president M K Stalin accused the Centre of "misusing" agencies like CBI and said the former union minister and his son would face the matter legally.
On April 26, the Income Tax officials had conducted raids at 11 different locations of the SLN Group, owned by former Union minister P Chidambaram’s children Vishwanathan and Sathappan, in Kodagu district of Karnataka.
In their attempts to go unrecognised in order to conduct the raids, the taxmen had posed as a marriage party, replete with a convoy of decorated Innova cars and wedding stickers to go with it.
According to sources, the I-T sleuths, gained access to key documents during the raids which were conducted with the support of local police.
On April 17, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had issued a show-cause notice to Karti Chidambaram and a firm purportedly linked to him for alleged violations of the FEMA laws to the tune of Rs 45 crore.
The agency also issued a similar notice, after over two years of investigations, to another firm M/s Vasan Health Care Private Limited, which is based in Chennai, for alleged forex violations of Rs 2,262 crore.