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Karti arrest vendetta, diversionary tactic: Congress


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Congress today dubbed the arrest of senior leader P Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram a "diversionary tactic" by the government to hide its scams and said "political vendetta" would not deter the party from speaking the truth.

A band of Congress leaders, including the party's communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala, Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi, came out in support of Karti Chidambaram, sharply criticising his arrest.

It was a classic 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 the unleashing of vendetta against Mr P Chidambaram or his family. We will continue to speak the truth. We will continue to expose the Modi governments corruption and we will continue to hold them accountable to the people of the country," he told reporters here.

Senior Congress leader Sibal termed the arrest "malafide" and said it was done to harass P Chidambaram.

"This is complete vendetta politics. This is completely malafide," he said.

Sibal challenged the investigative agencies to produce evidence against Karti Chidambaram.

"They are always misusing the law," he said.

Karti Chidambaram was arrested at Chennai airport around 8 am today when he returned to India from the United Kingdom.

An FIR filed by the CBI on May 15 last year had alleged irregularities in an FIPB clearance granted to INX Media for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when P Chidambaram was the Union finance minister.

Surjewala, addressing a press conference here along with Shaktisinh Gohil, said the government would be held accountable in the "people's court", alleging that scams of over Rs 30,000 crore had been unearthed in the last 10 days alone.

"But the prime minister has not made the transition from 'Maun Modi' to 'Bol Modi'. The prime minister remains mum about 'hhota Modi' as also Mehul Choksi," he said, referring to Nirav Modi, the diamantaire allegedly involved in a mega scam with his uncle, jeweller Choksi.

He said the government was seeking "political vendetta" to mask the "culture of colossal corruption and cronyism" flourishing unchecked, and "puppet CBI and ED" were being used to "divert, deflect and distract" attention from scams worth Rs 31,691 crore exposed in the last 10 days.

The government's "mask of a corruption crusader" was in a shambles with successive scams getting uncovered over the last 45 months and "zero action" being taken against fraudsters, he said.

"To divert attention and distract the narrative, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government are following their old trick in the book of using a political witch hunt, vendetta and malicious intent to deflect the heat from unprecedented bank scams and loss to public exchequer caused by the culture of crony capitalism," he alleged.

Surjewala said the political persecution of P Chidambaram and the arrest of his son by a "puppet CBI" acting to "serve the agenda of its political masters" were "cogs in this wheel".

"Facts of the case completely uncover the sinister diversionary tactics of the Modi government," he said.

Citing the cases of Nirav Modi and Choksi, Rotomac and Durga Das Seth jeweller, he said while scams were being unearthed every day the prime minister was keeping quiet.

"No wonder, 'Flout, Fleece and Fly' is the new culture," he said.

The Congress leader said the government looked away as accused Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya fled under their watch.

"Instead of chasing the real scamsters, the Modi government and its agencies are persecuting Congress leaders and their family purely as a diversionary agenda," he said.

Party spokesperson Singhvi said Karti Chidambaram's arrest showed the government's "double standards".

While Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya were not stopped from fleeing the country, Karti Chidambaram was arrested after he returned from a foreign tour, he said.

He also questioned the timing of the arrest, asking if it had anything to do with the Karnataka elections and whether it was aimed at deflecting attention from the Nirav Modi case.

"Fantastic double standards. Amazing selectivity," he said on Twitter, and wondered why the arrest took place when there was no flight risk.

"Allegations exist in public domain for over one year with many appearances for questioning; how can sudden custodial interrogation be justified. If no flight risk, no tampering, available for questioning, how and why arrest? Karnataka elections?" he added.

AICC general secretary Ashok Gehlot said Karti Chidambaram was arrested to divert attention from the big issues and the bank scam facing the NDA government.

Mr Karti Chidambaram was arrested when he landed at Chennai airport. He was not trying to escape from India like Nirav Modi," he tweeted.

"Karti Chidambaram was cooperating with the CBI, the CBI could have summoned him," the post said.

Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content

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First Published: Feb 28 2018 | 8:50 PM IST

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