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CBI raids Chidambaram, son Karti’s properties in Chennai in INX Media case

The CBI raids in the INX Media case is the second blow to former finance minister P. Chidambaram, after CBI informed the Supreme Court in April that it was investigating his role in the Aircel-Maxis case. Photo: ReutersPremium
The CBI raids in the INX Media case is the second blow to former finance minister P. Chidambaram, after CBI informed the Supreme Court in April that it was investigating his role in the Aircel-Maxis case. Photo: Reuters

The CBI raids were in connection with foreign investments received by INX Media, from which Karti Chidambaram got kickbacks when his father was the finance minister

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday raided 14 properties of former finance minister P. Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram in Chennai.

The raids took place after a first information report (FIR) was registered on Monday, CBI said.

While CBI did not confirm whether or not anything was recovered from the raids, it stated that the raids were in connection with foreign investments received by INX Media—which was formerly owned by media baron Peter Mukerjea—wherein Karti Chidambaram had allegedly received kickbacks from the media house, at the time when P. Chidambaram was the finance minister.

Karti Chidambaram. Photo: Mint
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Karti Chidambaram. Photo: Mint

“We are investigating the role of Karti Chidambaram and P. Chidambaram in the matter. The raids are on in Chennai and we cannot confirm any recoveries or findings until the raids are over," said a senior CBI official, requesting anonymity.

While the FIR filed by the agency on Monday night does not name P. Chidambaram, it names then directors of INX Media Indrani and Peter Mukerjea, Karti Chidamabaram, Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt. Ltd represented by its director Padma Vishwanathan and “unknown official of the Ministry of Finance, Government of India".

The FIR, which invoked Sections 8 and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (criminal conspiracy, cheating, taking gratification by criminal or corrupt means), said, “The FIPB Unit had clearly mentioned the inflow of Foreign Direct Investment to the extent of Rs4.62 crore taking the proposed issue at its face value. The FIPB unit also clearly stated that for downstream investment in INX News (P) Ltd a separate FIPM approval will be required. The FIPB in its meeting held on 18/05/2007 recommended the proposal of INX Media (P) Ltd to the above effect for consideration and approval of the finance minister… Accordingly the recommendations were approved by the then Finance Minister."

This is the second blow to the former minister, after the CBI informed the Supreme Court earlier in April that it was investigating the role played by him in the Aircel-Maxis case, where P. Chidambaram had allegedly given an illegal Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to a Malaysian firm to buy Aircel.

The raids also come as a setback for Karti Chidambaram, after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) issued a notice to him, seeking an explanation in alleged foreign exchange violations by his company Vasan Healthcare Pvt. Ltd.

ALSO READ: What really happened at Vasan Healthcare?

P. Chidambaram, however, denied that there were any allegations against him or the public officials at the FIPB secretariat or the five secretaries constituting the FIPB committee. Instead, he attacked the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, claiming it was a consolidated witch hunt against him and his son.

“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 the Opposition parties, journalists, columnists, NGOs and civil society organisation," Chidambaram said in a statement.

Karti Chidambaram also dismissed the allegations by the CBI made in the FIR, stating that “whatever has to be said has been said by my father".

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