CBI arrests Chidambaram’s son Karti in INX Media ‘bribery, laundering’ case

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Feb 28, 2018

Karti Chidambaram being produced at Patiala House Court in New Delhi last Wednesday (Feb 28, 2018). - RAMESH SHARMA | Photo Credit: Ramesh Sharma

Court sends him to a day’s CBI custody

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday arrested Karti Chidambaram, son of P Chidambaram, former Finance Minister, for allegedly taking a ₹10 lakh bribe and laundering money in relation to the INX Media case.

Karti was arrested at Chennai airport as he returned from London, and was immediately brought to the Capital where he was produced at the Patiala House Court.

The CBI sought 15-day custody of Karti; the court sent him to CBI custody for a day.

The arrest predictably evoked strong reaction from the Opposition Congress, which alleged that it was to divert attention from the Punjab National Bank scam.

“To divert attention and distract the narrative, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government are following their old trick in the book of using political witchhunt, vendetta and malicious intent to deflect the heat from unprecedented ‘bank scams’, ‘loss to public exchequer’ caused by culture of crony capitalism,” party’s media in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said.

The CBI had filed an FIR against Karti on May 15 last year on charges of irregularities in getting clearances from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), which comes under the Finance Ministry, to obtain funds worth ₹305 crore in 2007 when his father, P Chidambaram, was the Finance Minister.

CBI sources said Karti had received ₹10 lakh and ₹3.5 crore from INX Media, then owned by Peter Mukerjea and Indrani Mukerjea. INX Media is now 9X Media.

Appearing before the Patiala Court, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who is representing Karti, told the court that the CBI’s case against his client was “most bizarre”.

“The arrest is motivated. He hasn’t been given a single summons in the last six months, and the CBI’s allegations that he is not cooperating, when no summons have been issued after August 2017, are false,” Singhvi added.

“Karti is evasive in his replies and investigation. He made incorrect statements with respect to evidence. All this is delaying the conclusion of investigation,” the CBI said during the hearing.

The CBI also informed the court that Karti was not cooperating in the investigation process.

Reacting to the developments, IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “The law must take its course. The CBI will explain all the details’ we don't wish to interfere.”

He, however, added: “I'll only make one observation: when such issues are raised, what is important is that the nature of evidence available against the offender must speak for itself.”

Apparently, during the previous investigations, Indrani Mukerjea gave a statement to the CBI that Karti had asked for $1 million to secure FIPB clearance.

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Published on February 28, 2018
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