The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday raided the house of former Union minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram. The former Union home minister and his son have been accused of a number of bribery allegations.
Karti P. Chidambaram is an Indian politician and businessman. He is a member of the Indian National Congress Party and the All India Congress Committee.
On a day when the government launched its ‘Operation Clean Money’ website, Central agencies carried out search operations directed at two former UPA Ministers, P Chidambaram and Lalu Prasad, as part of investigations into allegations of corruption. Opposition leaders, however, criticised the action as “political vendetta”.
After registering the FIR, CBI teams conducted raids at 14 places, including Chidambaram’s Chennai home, residences and offices of the Mukerjeas and private companies linked to the probe.
CBI sources said the searches on Karti’s premises were part of its initial investigations. The agency has registered a criminal case under sections of conspiracy, receipt of illegal gratification to influence of a public servant, cheating and misuse of official position against five individuals and entities.
“Documents, emails and hard disks related to the case have been recovered,” CBI joint director Vineet Vinayak said.
Karti finally reacts to the CBI raid against him and his father, former union minister P Chidambaram. Talking to the media briefly, he claimed that the raid is part of the Centre’s political witch hunt against the Opposition.
Karti added that the CBI has no proof against him and that the corruption charges are a ploy by the Centre to stifle his father’s dissenting voice.
In its FIR against Karti and others, the CBI alleged that at least Rs 3.5 crore was paid by INX Media, promoted by Indrani and Peter Mukerjea, to companies directly or indirectly controlled by Karti to influence the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) decision.
The agency didn’t name Chidambaram in its FIR and only unknown officials of the finance ministry are named, but sources said ex-finance minister was “very much under the scanner” as the final approval was given by him.
According to the CBI, INX Media brought in Karti’s Chess Management Service after the I-T department sought clarifications from the FIPB as to how overseas investors had put Rs 305 crore, including through indirect investment, in INX Media when co-investors of the Mukerjeas had permission to get in just Rs 4.62 crore.
INX Media had acquired 26% stake in INX News without FIPB’s clearance.
“Such deceitful and fallacious proposal was favourably considered and approved by then Finance Minister,” the CBI says in its FIR.
The Mukerjeas are in jail in connection with the murder of Indrani’s daughter Sheena Bora. Sources say clues on the INX Media deal emerged from investigations into the sensational murder, during which the financial transactions of the Mukerjeas were closely scrutinized.
INX Media went to the Finance Minister’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) unit and got an approval, which was also signed off by the Finance Minister. This legalized what the company had already done without permission.
However, Chidambaram said the Centre was using its agencies to target him to “silence my voice and to stop me from writing”.
Piyush Goyal takes a jibe at P Chidambaram, Former finance minister’s columns “did not exactly set the Yamuna on fire”, Goyal told reporters and took a dig at Chidambaram, saying that he will be accountable for his “son stroke.”
“First it was the Enforcement Directorate, then Income Tax and now the CBI. Everyone knows how much my father writes and that’s why they are doing this. I have done no business with INX, never have I interjected in the ministry.This is all bogus I will face this legally,” said Karti Chidambaram.