Business Standard

INX Media case: P Chidambaram had a premonition of Karti's arrest

Before son's arrest, Chidambaram had filed petition in SC fearing 'harrassment'

Karti Chidambaram

Karti Chidambaram, son of former union minister P Chidambaram leaves from CBI Headquarter to Patiala House court, in New Delhi | PTI Photo

Press Trust of India New Delhi
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram appeared to have a premonition of the arrest of his son Karti when he filed a petition recently in the Supreme Court apprehending “continued harassment” to him and his family members.

Karti was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday on his arrival from London, even before Chidambaram’s petition could be listed for hearing by the top court.

Chidambaram, who has been closely monitoring the case of his son in the Supreme Court which is argued by his party colleague and senior advocate Kapil Sibal, had sprung a surprise last week by filing a petition on his own accusing the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) of carrying out a political vendetta against him and his family.

In his petition, Chidambaram has sought the apex court’s direction prohibiting the CBI and ED from continuing their “illegal investigations” and from acting in any manner “causing repeated harassment” to him and his family members, including his son.

However, the CBI swung into action by arresting Karti on Wednesday even before the petition was heard by the top court.

In his plea, Chidambaram, himself a senior advocate, has said that the position in the INX Media case was “worse” as, though the CBI had lodged a first information report (FIR) in May 2017, the probe agencies have not filed any report “concluding that any criminal offence had been committed or that any proceeds of crime had arisen out of that criminal offence”.

An FIR, filed by the CBI on May 15 last year, had alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 3.05 billion in 2007 when Chidambaram was the Union finance minister.

While the CBI has alleged that Karti had received funds to the tune of Rs 1 million in the case, the ED has also registered a money laundering case in the matter.

Chidambaram, in his petition before the apex court, has said that his fundamental rights were being violated due to “illegal” investigations being carried out by the CBI and the ED and the central government has been “misusing” its probe agencies.

He has said that being the finance minister then, he had granted FIPB approvals in the INX Media case and the Aircel-Maxis case in the “normal course of official business”. In the discharge of his functions, he has “never allowed any member of his family, including his son, or any other person to interfere with or influence the conduct of official business”.

Chidambaram has said that the CBI and ED cannot “harass” Karti and others, who were totally unconnected with the FIPB approval by issuing repeated summons to them.

“The petitioner (Chidambaram) feels sad that his son and his business friends are being targeted,” the plea said, adding, “The entire investigation being conducted by the CBI and ED is a total farce and is being made only to malign the name of the petitioner and his son in the eyes of the public”.
He has also sought the apex court’s direction declaring that the proceedings emanating from FIR registered by CBI in the INX Media case as well as the “premature investigation” being conducted by the ED, were “without jurisdiction, an abuse of authority, and violative of Articles 14 (equality before law), 19 (freedom of speech and expression), and 21 (right to life and personal liberty) of the Constitution which inhere in the petitioner and the members of his family, and declare the said proceedings and investigations as null and void”. 

The Congress on Wednesday labelled the arrest of senior leader P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram “vendetta” and a “diversionary tactic” by the Modi government to hide its scams and “mal-governance”.

Karti Chidambaram’s arrest would not deter the party from speaking the truth to hold the government accountable, the party’s communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said.

It was a “classical diversionary tactic” to hide “corruption scams, mal-governance and mal-administration that have marred this government,” Surjewala said.

“The Congress party will not be deterred by unleashing of vendetta against Chidambaram or his family. We will continue to speak the truth. We will continue to expose the Modi government’s corruption and we will continue to hold them accountable to people of the country,” he told reporters.

Karti Chidambaram was arrested at Chennai airport around 8 am when he returned from the UK.

An FIR filed by the CBI on May 15 last year had alleged irregularities in the FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 3.05 billion in 2007 when Chidambaram was Union finance minister.

It is alleged that Karti Chidambaram received funds to the tune of Rs 1 million in the case, officials said.

Surjewala said scams worth over Rs 300 billion were unearthed in the last 10 days alone. “But the Prime Minister has not moved the transition from ‘Maun Modi’ to ‘Bol Modi’. The Prime Minister remains mum about ‘Çhhota Modi’ as also Mehul Choksi,” he said.

He cited the cases of designer jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, Rotomac, and Durga Das Seth jeweller to say that fresh scams were being unearthed everyday but the Prime Minister was keeping quiet.

His party colleague, AICC general secretary Ashok Gehlot, said Karti was arrested to divert attention from the big issues and the bank scam facing the National Democratic Alliance government.
Gehlot said on Twitter, “Karti was arrested when he landed at Chennai airport. He was not trying to escape from India like Nirav Modi. Arresting him on his arrival at the airport is funny. Karti was cooperating with the CBI. The CBI could have summoned him.”

Don't miss the most important news and views of the day. Get them on our Telegram channel

First Published: Feb 28 2018 | 6:42 PM IST

Explore News