Karti Chidambaram arrested in INX media case

Karti Chidambaram, son of former union minister P Chidambaram escorted by police personnel to the Patiala House court in New Delhi on Wednesday.

New Delhi: Karti Chidambaram, son of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, was arrested on Wednesday by the CBI at Chennai Airport in connection with its probe in the INX media case, officials here said.

The 46-year-old Karti was placed under arrest by a CBI team on his return from London.

He was put on a Delhi-bound flight and brought to the agency headquarters where the CBI is completing necessary formalities including a medical test before producing him before a designated CBI court here in the evening.

The agency did not produce him before a local magistrate in Chennai for his transit remand since the probe agency has an all-India jurisdiction.

The CBI had registered an FIR on May 15 last year against alleged irregularities in the FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs3.05 billion (Dh171.7 million) in 2007 when Chidambaram was the Union finance minister. It is alleged that Karti had received funds to the tune of Rs1 million in the case, they said.

The CBI alleged Karti also received money from INX media to scuttle a tax probe. The firm was owned at the time by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, who are currently in jail on charges of murdering Indrani’s daughter Sheena Bora. The Enforcement Directorate has also registered a money laundering case.

The CBI and the ED had carried out a series of raids on the houses and offices owned by the Chidambarams. Karti was questioned several times by the ED.

A lookout notice, which prevents a passenger from travelling abroad, was issued against him as the agencies suspected that he would try to close foreign accounts where he had parked the money from the kickbacks. In November, the Supreme Court allowed Karti to go to the UK for his daughter’s admission in Cambridge University.

His father was not available for comments but he had earlier denied involvement of his son in any case.

The Congress labelled his arrest as “vendetta” and a “diversionary tactic” by the Modi government to hide its scams and “mal-governance”.

Karti’s arrest would not deter the party from speaking the truth to hold the government accountable, the party’s communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said.

The CBI is also probing alleged irregularities in grant of the FIPB clearance to the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006.

According to the CBI, INX Media clearly states in its records that Rs1 million was given to Advantage Strategic Consulting (P) Limited, a firm “indirectly” owned by Karti, for management consultancy charged towards FIPB notification and clarification.

The FIR also alleges that invoices of approximately Rs35 million were raised in favour of INX group in the name of other companies in which Karti had substantial interests “directly or indirectly”. The agency has registered an FIR against Karti, his company Chess Management Services, the Mukerjeas, INX Media, Advantage Strategic Consulting Services and its Director Padma Vishwanathan.

The allegations levelled by the CBI are based on the information given by “source”, the FIR has claimed.

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