Chi­dambarams raided by ED in Delhi, Chennai

Searches ‘ com­edy of er­rors’: PC

The Asian Age - - Front Page - AGE COR­RE­SPON­DENTS

The Chennai and Delhi homes and of­fi­cial premises of former Union min­is­ter P. Chi­dambaram and his son Karti Chi­dambaram was raided by a team of En­force­ment Direc­torate ( ED) on Satur­day.

The raids, in con­nec­tion with the money laun­der­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion in the Air­cel- Maxis money laun­der­ing case against Karti Chi­dambaram, were termed as “a com­edy of er­rors” by the former fi­nance min­is­ter as the of­fi­cers, he claimed, were “em­bar­rassed” and “apolo­getic” as they could not find any­thing. Mr P. Chi­dambaram also ques­tioned the agency’s ju­ris­dic­tion to in­ves­ti­gate the mat­ter.

The former Union min­is­ter said the raids were a re­ac­tion to the no­tices sent out by the Supreme Court, which heard his son’s ap­peal on Fri­day. Karti Chi­dambaram, a 46year- old busi­ness­man and Congress mem­ber,

◗ ED of­fi­cers went away with a copy of one of his speeches in Par­lia­ment, said the former Union fi­nance min­is­ter

had ques­tioned the cases filed against him.

“There is no FIR in re­spect of a sched­uled crime reg­is­tered by any po­lice or agency in­clud­ing the CBI,” Mr P. Chi­dambaram said. “In

ab­sence of a sched­uled of­fence, there are ob­vi­ously no pro­ceeds of crime and there­fore the ED has no ju­ris­dic­tion to probe the mat­ter un­der PMLA ( the Pre­ven­tion of Money Laun­der­ing Act),” Mr P. Chi­dambaram added.

The former min­is­ter said he an­tic­i­pated his house in Chennai will be searched again, “but in a com­edy of er­rors they came to Jor Bagh ( in Delhi) and of­fi­cers told me that they thought Karti is an oc­cu­pant of this house, but he is not. I am the oc­cu­pant”.

The of­fi­cials, he added, went away with some pa­pers, which was a copy of one of his speeches in Par­lia­ment.

The case against Karti Chi­dambaram is linked to crim­i­nal mis­con­duct in the grant of the For­eign In­vest­ment Pro­mo­tion Board ( FIPB) ap­proval.

Al­le­ga­tions have also been made by the ED about Karti dis­pos­ing of a prop­erty in Gurgaon, rented out to a multi­na­tional com­pany — for which FDI was granted.

“When Chi­dambaram had granted ap­proval for the Air­cel- Maxis case in 2006, he had to get an ap­proval from the Cabi­net Com­mit­tee on Eco­nomic Af­fairs ( CCEA) if the amount ex­ceeds Rs 600 crore and this is over Rs 3,500 crore. How­ever, ap­proval was not sought from the CCEA,” the agency sources al­leged.

The Congress Party on Satur­day crit­i­cised the raids and ac­cused the cen­tral gov­ern­ment of “vi­cious vendetta be­ing un­leashed against Op­po­si­tion lead­ers”.

The party’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions chief Ran­deep Singh Sur­je­w­ala said, “Stark truth is that Prime Min­is­ter and his gov­ern­ment are us­ing agen­cies like ED/ CBI as cap­tive pup­pets to set­tle po­lit­i­cal scores and in­tim­i­date po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents. In fact, ‘ Raid Raj’ has be­come the ‘ DNA’ of Modi gov­ern­ment.” The Congress, he said, will not be cowed down by th­ese “at­tempts to brow­beat or bull­doze”.

In Luc­know, SP chief Akhilesh Ya­dav claimed that the raids were meant to “di­vert the at­ten­tion” of the peo­ple from the cri­sis in Supreme Court.

“The BJP men are best in di­vert­ing the at­ten­tion of the peo­ple. The judges had raised a se­ri­ous mat­ter yes­ter­day and to­day they ( gov­ern­ment) raided some­one’s res­i­dence,” he said.

— BIPLAB BANERJEE

Former fi­nance min­is­ter P. Chi­dambaram at his Jor Bagh res­i­dence in New Delhi Satur­day.

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