The CBI has launched multiple raids in former Union minister P Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram's residence at Nungambakkam in Chennai. In all, 14 locations, including in Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai and Chennai, connected to the senior Congress leader and his son are being searched by the CBI. The case has been registered under section 120-B r/w, section 420, section 8 and sextion 13(2) r/w and 13 (1) (d) of Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The CBI team began the raids at his house early in the morning under the supervision from the Delhi headquarters.
According to reports, the raids are part of the Aircel-Maxis case. It is also being said that the raids are linked to clearances given to INX media, which was once owned by Peter Mukerjea. The charges include criminal conspiracy, cheating, taking gratification in order by corrupt or illegal means to influence public servant and criminal misconduct.
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A CBI spokesman in New Delhi confirmed a raid was taking place at the home of Chidambaram's son, Karti, but gave no further details. Chidambaram, who served in the Congress government that was voted out of office in 2014, declined to comment when asked about the raids by Reuters.
Local reporters said the raids may relate to investment clearances given to a company called INX Media and that the deal was linked to Indrani Mukherjee and her company INX Media. INX Media operated channels like NewsX, 9X and 9X Music.
It is alleged that while the clearance was only for Rs. 4 crore, the actual foreign investment was much higher, and this was allowed because Karti allegedly facilitated the deal. The CBI is also investigating a money trail and the bribe allegedly given to Karti.
According to reports, on Sept 22, 2008, Karti’s Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited (ASCPL) allegedly received Rs. 35 Lakhs from INX Media, on the same day another Rs.60 lakh was allegedly paid from INX Media to Northstar Software Solutions Pvt Ltd. On September 24, 2008, another tranche of 20,000 Dollars were allegedly paid to ASCPL’s Singapore subsidiary by INX Media.
A first information request, or police report, was filed in the matter on Monday, the Indian Express reported.
Chidambaram has been an outspoken critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government. He has also been the target of litigation brought by Subramanian Swamy, a prominent lawmaker in Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, alleging corruption in a 2006 telecoms merger.
Alleging that the government wanted to silence his voice, the former union minister said, "Government is targeting my son and his friends by using CBI and other agencies".
"The government wants to stop me from writing, as it has tried to do with leaders of opposition parties, journalists, columnists, NGOs and civil society", he further added.
The raids are also being conducted at their offices and may follow at Chidambaram's native place in Karaikudi also.
Karti, who is facing money laundering charges in connection with the Aircel-Maxis deal, has been raided at his offices in the past as well.
CBI raid at former union minister P Chidambaram's residence in Chennai pic.twitter.com/1oGxTjVDXF— ANI (@ANI_news) May 16, 2017
Tom Vadakkan, a Congress party spokesman, said the raids were an attempt to malign Chidambaram's reputation and that they had found no incriminating evidence.
"This is clearly a fishing expedition launched by the Modi government against Chidambaram," Vadakkan told Reuters.
(Inputs from agencies)