The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted raids on Tuesday at the residences of former Union minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti in connection with criminal misconduct in grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval.
The agency named Karti named Karti Chidambaram and INX Media owners Indrani Mukerjea and Peter Mukerjea for alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating and prevention of corruption act in its FIR. The Mukerjeas, accused of murder in the sensational Sheena Bora case, are currently in jail.
This is not the first time Karti Chidambaram has faced similar allegations. Last month, ED had issued a show-cause notice to Karti and his firm Advance Strategic Consulting Private Limited for alleged violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) laws to the tune of Rs 45 crore. Besides, the father-son duo is also facing probes in the Aircel-Maxis case in which Karti allegedly made a killing through his company.
Moreover, ED is also probing a firm called, Ziqitza Healthcare Ltd of which Karti is a director. The ED says it has found several irregularities in the claims pertaining to the operation of over 100 ambulances in Rajasthan.
Coming out of his Chennai residence very briefly, Karti Chidambaram told reporters gathered that all charges levelled against him and his father are baseless. "I am being targetted politically and personally. We will give a detailed statement once the raids are over."
Karti added that his father, P Chidambaram has already said what is to be said.
"CBI has named Karti Chidambaram, INX Media (P) Ltd and its former Director Indrani Mukerjea, INX News (P) Ltd and its former Director Peter Mukerjea, M/s Chess Management Services (P) Ltd (owned by Karti Chidambaram), M/s Advantage Strategic Consulting (P) Ltd and its Director Ms Padma Vishwanathan and unknown officials of finance ministry in its FIR for alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating and prevention of corruption act," the CBI said in a statement.
The agency further stated that recommendations for proposal of INX Media was approved by P Chidambaram, who had served as Union finance minister during the UPA regime.
"INX Media, in order to wriggle out of the situation without any punitive action by FIPB, entered into a criminal conspiracy with Karti Chidambaram, son of then finance minister P Chidambaram, and promoter director of Chess Management so as to get the issues resolved amicably by influencing the public servants of the FIPB unit of ministry of finance by virtue of his relationship with the then finance minister," the CBI added.
Following the raid at his residence, P Chidambaram accused the BJP-led NDA government of a political witchhunt against his family.
"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," the Congress leader said, adding that he'd continue to speak and write.
He asserted that he was in the clear with the law in granting of FIPB approval to INX Media.
"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 claimed.
A total of at least 14 locations in Chidambaram's home city of Chennai were searched by the CBI.