Chennai, May 16 (IANS) The CBI on Tuesday raided the residences of former Union Minister P. Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram here in connection with the grant of FIPB approvals when he was the Finance Minister. Chidambaram has termed it vendetta politics and declared the raids will not stop him from being critical of the government.
A team of 11 CBI officials entered the Haddows Road residence of Chidambaram on Tuesday morning and carried out searches.
According to sources, 17 other locations in Chennai, Karaikudi, Delhi and Noida were also searched by CBI sleuths in this connection.
The early morning raids at the former Finance and Home Minister’s residence were conducted in connection with Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearances given to INX Media (now called 9X Media) when it was run by Peter and Indrani Mukherjea, and Chidambaram was the Finance Minister.
Separate Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) teams conducted searches at more than 17 locations in Chennai, Karaikudi, Delhi and Noida besides Mumbai and Gurugram.
The CBI raids come close on the heels of an Enforcement Directorate probe into the affairs of Karti Chidambaram who they allege was involved in FEMA violations and money laundering.
According to the investigating agency allegations, Karti was linked to a firm, Advantage Strategic Ltd, whose name cropped up in various cases.
Chidambaram has said there are no allegations against him or his son.
“The government, using 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.”
In a statement issued on Tuesday, a little after the raids began, Chidambaram said “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.”
Terming it vendetta politics, the former Finance Minister said, “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.”
Karti Chidambaram has maintained that he will come out clean as there was nothing to hide. He said he had cooperated with probe agencies and has paid all his taxes.
“The case against me has been foisted purely out of political reasons and vendetta. Nothing can be proven against me and I have not done any crime. It has been done mainly to muzzle my father’s voice against the government,” he said.
Congress legislative leader in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, Karaikudi Ramaswamy visited Chidambaram’s residence and later told media persons that there was nothing in the case that was being made out.
“It is just a ploy to discredit and destroy the reputation and image of the Congress party,” he said.
The agency’s move comes a day after it filed an FIR against Karti Chidambaram and Indrani Mukherjea in the case.
The case — registered under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) in 2010 — involves foreign investment by three Mauritius-based companies in INX Media.
The ED had earlier issued a show-cause notice to Karti Chidambaram and INX Media for alleged FEMA violations of over Rs 40 crore.
The ED also issued a similar notice to a Chennai-based firm, Vasan Health Care Private Limited, for alleged forex violations of over Rs 2,000 crore.
“The total amount of contravention identified on different counts and found to have been committed by Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited in the sale transaction of shares of Vasan Health Care to overseas investors is around Rs 45 crore,” the ED notice said.
“Show-cause notice has been issued to Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited, its directors and also to Karti Chidambaram who appears to be the controller and ultimate beneficiary in these transactions,” it added.