INX media money laundering: Political row sparked off after Karti’s arrest

Under attack for pursuing a kids-glove approach towards economic offenders and business tycoons, the BJP-led government on Wednesday seemed to unleash an aggressive policy as in a quick turn of events, former Union Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI from Chennai airport on his return from London.

After he was flown into Delhi, 47-year-old Karti was later remanded to one-day custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) by a Delhi court. The episode sparked off major political row with the Congress and some other opposition parties like the CPI-M raising the “political vendetta” and a senior BJP leader Dr Subramanian Swamy suggesting that now the law take its course with the former Union Finance and Home Minister senior Chidambaram.

The Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the arrest was like a “political persecution of P Chidambaram by a puppet CBI acting to serve the political agenda of its political masters”.

Dr Swamy said: “Now that Karti Chidambaram has been arrested, it is the turn of his father now (P Chidambaram) also to be arrested”. The sections of law applied against Karti include those which essentially rise from former Union Finance Minister Chidambaram “committing crime” under the Prevention of Corruption Act, he said.

The central government rejected the vendetta charge and said the law is taking course in the case and maintained that the “nature of evidence” against the offender should speak.

“The law is taking its course and the law must take its course. The CBI is doing its job, we need not interfere……but when such issues are raised what is important is that the nature of evidence available against the offender must speak for itself and not the alibi of vendetta politics,” Union Minister and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.

The arrest of Karti came nine months after the CBI registered a FIR against him on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, accepting gratification by corrupt or illegal means, influencing public servants and criminal misconduct.

The allegation against Karti is that he allegedly received Rs 3.5 crore from the Mumbai-based INX Media, now known as 9X Media, for helping it get Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance in 2007 when his father P Chidambaram was the Union Finance Minister.

The CBI counsel told the Delhi court that they needed his custodial interrogation since he was not cooperating with the probe and was going abroad frequently. The BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia tweeted: “The INC has nothing to say on merits when it comes to Karti Chidambaram’s arrest. The same cacophony of “political vendetta”. Karti moved the Supreme Court and the hard fact is SC refused to stay his arrest. Karti has been sent to his rightful place i.e behind bars”.

Another party spokesperson Sambit Patra said “Those who say about vindictive politics should submit themselves before the scrutiny of law…ultimately the roots of the case links to the finance ministry of 2007”.

 

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