After arrest, courtroom drama during Karti Chidambaram's hearing

Annette Crawford
March 2, 2018

Earlier in the day, the CBI arrested Karti, son of former finance minister P Chidambaram from Chennai airport in connection with the same case. The Congress said Karti's arrest was "vendetta" and a "diversionary tactic" of the BJP-led central government to hide its "scams" and "mal-governance".

The initial case registered against him mentioned that he received Rs. 10 lakh, but sources in the CBI said there is now evidence that he received more.

The CBI has alleged that Karti Chidambaram used his influence over certain FIPB officials to extend undue favours to INX Media and abandon all investigations into the case. The CBI produced Karti before the Court, in the evening at around 4.45 pm. Some have questioned the need to arrest him while investigation is underway. "All this delays the conclusion of investigation", said CBI in the court pleading for his custody. "Unlike others, I (Karti) am not a "Hindustan leaver" and instead, I am a "Hindustan returner", Singhvi said, adding that Karti was cooperating with the CBI and that the court might impose any condition while releasing him from the agency's custody. Following this, ED lodged a case of money laundering against Karti. He said Karti appeared before the CBI and Enforcement Directorate for 30-40 hours and cooperated.

The arrest of Karti Chidambaram brings into light yet another public figure and relative of a senior politician getting at the receiving end of law and in this case, the offence relates to money laundering and alleged involvement in extensive worldwide business activities, many of them involving tax havens. At one point sitting in the court with his mother, Karti was heard telling that "he should not have returned to India" since the CBI and the ED are playing in the hands of political bosses.

The defence counsel argued that the CBI had tried to stop Karti's foreign visits, but he went overseas twice on court orders and another of his visits outside the country was prior to the issuance of the Look-Out Circular. "I am not a fugitive", Singhvi, also a Rajya Sabha MP and senior Congress leader, told the court even as the court sent Karti to one-day CBI custody. "We will continue to expose the Modi government's corruption and we will continue to hold them accountable to the people of the country", he told reporters here.

Last year, while investigating a company associated with Karti, ED found some documents related to the INX Media deal in the computer of Karti's CA Bhaskarraman.

The CBI had additionally done hunts at the houses and workplaces of Mr Chidambaram crosswise over four urban communities for professedly getting cash from the media firm claimed by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea to abandon an expense test. But the company illegally brought in Rs 306 crore through tax havens - including Mauritius, said the agencies. This time was available after Karti's counsel, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, sought time to file a proper application to challenge the ED proceedings.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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