Home / Politics / Policy /  CBI arrests Karti Chidambaram in INX Media bribery case

CBI arrests Karti Chidambaram in INX Media bribery case

Karti Chidambaram has been accused of having received Rs10 lakh bribe in 2017 to clear foreign investment worth Rs305 crore for INX Media, owned by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, at a time when P. Chidambaram for finance minister. Photo: PTIPremium
Karti Chidambaram has been accused of having received Rs10 lakh bribe in 2017 to clear foreign investment worth Rs305 crore for INX Media, owned by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, at a time when P. Chidambaram for finance minister. Photo: PTI

A special CBI court has sent Karti Chidambaram, former Union FM P. Chidambaram's son, to a day's CBI custody and will be presented before court today

New Delhi: A special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday sent Karti Chidambaram, former Union finance minister P. Chidambaram’s son, to a day’s CBI custody, just hours after he was arrested by the agency at Chennai airport in connection with alleged bribery at INX Media.

Karti Chidambaram will be produced before the special CBI court on Thursday again.

“He has been evasive in his replies to us, uncooperative and had given an incorrect statement with respect to evidence collected by CBI. All these evasions have caused delays in the conclusion of the investigation and we had to arrest him," said a CBI spokesperson in New Delhi.

Politically, the arrest restores the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA’s) anti-corruption narrative, coming as it does as an embarrassment to the Congress.

The CBI special prosecutor also informed the magistrate that “Indrani Mukerjea had in 2007 been directed by P. Chidambaram to meet his son and help him out".

The investigative agency had sought to remand him to 15 days’ custody for further questioning, which would include confronting him with evidence. He was represented by senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who said the arrest was motivated as he had not been issued summons since August 2017.

“He appeared twice on summons—23 August and 28 August 2017—and has been interrogated for 22 hours in the case. He has not received any further summons. How is it possible to allege non-cooperation?" Singhvi told the court.

Chidambaram has been accused of having received Rs10 lakh in kickbacks in 2007 to clear foreign investment worth Rs305 crore for INX Media, which was owned by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, at a time when P. Chidambaram was finance minister under the first United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

The arrest comes just before Parliament reconvenes for the second half of the budget session on 5 March.

P. Chidambaram did not respond to Mint’s queries.

With the centre facing heat from the opposition over the Rs12,636 crore PNB fraud case involving jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, Karti Chidambaram’s arrest is being perceived by the Congress party as vendetta politics.

“The (Narendra) Modi government hides behind political vendetta to mask the culture of colossal corruption and cronyism. The puppet CBI and ED are being used to divert, deflect and distract attention from scams that were exposed over the last 10 days," Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a statement.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hit out at the Congress, stating that all probes were underway as per the law. “The law is taking its course and it must. We do not wish to interfere. The nature of evidence against the accused must speak for itself, not the alibi of vendetta," law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said at Wednesday’s cabinet briefing.

Last week, Karti Chidambaram had moved the Supreme Court and sought a stay on the Enforcement Directorate (ED)’s summons against him in the INX Media case. However, the apex court refused to stay the summons.

Earlier this month, the Madras high court gave a conditional nod to Karti to travel to the UK and France on business.

In August 2017, CBI had questioned Karti Chidambaram in connection with the case, months after searching 14 properties belonging to him in Chennai and Delhi and filing a a first information report (FIR) against him.

INX Media is being probed by both CBI and ED over the allegations that Karti Chidambaram received kickbacks from the media house.

Dharani Thangavelu in Chennai and Gireesh Chandra Prasad in New Delhi contributed to this story.

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