The residences of former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti’s properties were swooped down by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Chennai today.
A show cause notice was issued to Karti Chidambaram last month and a firm purportedly linked him for alleged Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) violations of Rs 45 crore. He is also being investigated in the money laundering charge in the Aircel-Maxis case.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had said in a statement that, “A show cause notice has been issued to M/s Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited, its directors and also to Karti P Chidambaram who appears to be the controller and ultimate beneficiary in these transactions.” The firm comes under the ED’s lens over money laundering charges in the Aircel-Maxis deal.
Chennai-based M/s Vasan Health Care Private Limited has also been issued a similar notice in the case for alleged forex violation of Rs 2,262 crore.
Chidambaram, in response to the show cause notice, accused the ED for making allegations against his son Karti. The two firms in the past have explained their transactions and repeatedly clarified through their statements that Karti was never a shareholder nor a director of either of the companies, said the former Union Minister.
The ED conducted searches in the premises of Advantage Strategic Consultants Private Limited and others. It issued the summons to their directors under Section 37 of FEMA in August last year.
The raids at Chidambaram’s residence today were in connection with Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance given to INX Media in 2008. At that time, Chidambaram was the finance minister in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA-1) under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
In 2008, the INX Media had launched NewsX with Peter Mukerjea, who is in jail currently and his wife Indrani Mukerjea as partners. According to sources, INX Media had paid money and allotted shares to Karti’s company Advantage Strategic Consulting and its linked firms. INX Media had paid cash in several installments. Also 60 lakh shares were transferred from London based company called Artevea Digital UK Limited to Karti’s firm. Earlier during Income Tax raids at Karti’s house, hard disks having details about Karti’s firm were seized. Further investigation revealed that Karti received kickbacks from INX Media when Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval papers for the company were pending with his father P Chidambaram. On September 22, 2008, Karti’s Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited received Rs 35 lakh from INX Media, which applied for FIPB clearance of 220 million dollars. On the same day, another Rs 60 lakh was paid from INX Media to Northstar Software Solutions Pvt Limited.
The CBI raids were conducted at Chidambaram’s residence in Nungambakkam and Karaikudi where he and his son are said to own many properties.
(Video Source: NTV Telugu)