NEW DELHI: The Express expose unravelling benami deals of former finance minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram rocked Parliament on Wednesday as BJP MPs demanded that accused be arrested and sent to jail. The ruling party also held a press conference demanding explanation from Congress on the new evidence against Chidambaram’s global financial empire.
The issue was first raised by the BJP MP Nishikant Dubey in Lok Sabha during the zero Hour. Amidst protests by the Congress MPs, BJP MP said they (Chidambarams) were brazening it out despite the theft.
“It is an open and shut case. There is a FIR pending in the CBI. It should immediately be submitted to the court and the accused be sent to jail,” Dubey said.
Fourteen other BJP MPs supported Dubey’s contention and “associated” with the issue raised by their colleague.
The double whammy for the Congress in form of AugustaWestland judgment by an Italian, and Express expose on Chidambaram family put the opposition on defensive as both issues were raised in the House and set to cause more fireworks.
If Dubey led the charge inside the Lok Sabha, BJP leader and Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy held a press conference to demand an explanation from the Grand Old Party.
"There is no continent left where he (Karti Chidambaram) does not have property. Evidence is there... What is this will? Why is it there? Why it (assets) has returned to your (Chidambaram) family? The proof of its financial empire across the world is before the nation. What is the Congress party's stand on the revelations on Karti?" Rudy asked.
Express story on Chidambaram’s son Karti published on Monday revealed that joint raids conducted by Income Tax and Enforcement wings, in December last, on Karti had unearthed 4 Wills from his vault. These Wills showed that how – Advantage – a company once owned by Karti controlled his empire through benami deals. Interestingly, the Wills were recovered from the vault owned by Karti thus providing evidence against him.
The four Wills showed that Karti first offloaded the shares of the company to his known persons, who then willed them back in Karti’s daughter Aditi’s name.
P Chidambaram’s granddaughter was the sole beneficiary in the will of four shareholders of a firm associated with the scam, making it an "open and shut case", Dubey said in Lok Sabha.
While, Dubey was speaking, Congress’ K.C. Venugopal and Jyotoradiyta Scindia were seen protesting that double standards were being followed as despite moving adjournment motions Congress was not allowed to raise its matters.
Without taking Chidambaram's name, Dubey alleged that his son enjoyed ownership of some of the suspect firms having assets abroad.
"CBI must file an FIR at the earliest so that the guilty could be brought to book", he said amid protests from Congress members including Mallikarjun Kharge and K C Venugopal.
In the last session, AIADMK and BJD members had disrupted Parliament seeking a CBI probe into the Aircel-Maxis deal which they linked to Chidambaram’s son Karti.
Dubey also named 3 companies and gave details of how shares and stocks had been sold between them.
Dubey claimed that Rs. 223 crore black money dealings have taken place in the case and alleged that when in power, the UPA rule reeked of corruption.
Express story had revealed that joint raids by Enforcement and Income Tax department uncovered, besides the Wills, incriminating documents that brought to light the huge empire of several hundreds of crores built in the name of Advantage in London, Dubai, South Africa, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, British Virgin Island, France, USA, Switzerland, Greece and Spain.
The documents revealed how Advantage India’s ownership is buried in the names of benamis. Out of Advantage India’s total capital of five lakh equity shares, two lakh shares (40% ownership) is now held by Ausbridge, which was almost entirely owned by Karti from 2006 to 2011. Karti transferred his ownership of Ausbridge to Mohanan Rajesh, his neighbour, in 2011 to dissociate himself from Advantage. Karti took the shares of Ausbridge from Mohanan Rajesh in 2006 and gave it back along with his own to him in 2011.
The balance three lakh shares (or 60% ownership) of Advantage is held in the names of four benamis - CBN Reddy, known as Karti’s sidekick (2,11,430 shares), Padma Viswanathan and Ravi Viswanathan (32,600 shares) and Bhaskararaman (17,400 shares), Karti’s other nominees. The four have executed Wills bequeathing - that is giving - the full 60% ownership of Advantage India to Chidambaram’s grand daughter and Karti’s daughter, Aditi Nalini Chidambaram. As Advantage India fully owns Advantage Singapore, the bequest to Aditi implicitly includes the global wealth held by the latter.
Interestingly, all Wills have been uniformly executed on the same day - 19th June 2013, identical in language and content. In three of them, the first witness is CBN Reddy. In CBN Reddy’s Will, it is Ravi Viswanathan. The second witness for all four Wills is one V Murali. All Wills divide the properties into two parts. One, the Will writer’s personal assets, and the other, the benami shares in Advantage and other companies. They bequeath their personal properties to their spouse and children. They gift away the benami shares worth hundreds of crores of rupees not to their children, or to any charity or poor, but to Chidambaram’s family, symbolically in the family grand daughter’s name.