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ED Officials Embarrassed to Find Me There, Says Chidambaram After Raids on Son Karti's Properties

As the Enforcement Directorate turns up the heat in Aircel-Maxis deal case, former finance minister P Chidambaram says the agency has no jurisdiction to search son Karti’s properties.

Updated:January 13, 2018, 1:14 PM IST
ED Officials Embarrassed to Find Me There, Says Chidambaram After Raids on Son Karti's Properties
Former finance minister P Chidambaram addresses reporters in New Delhi on Saturday.
New Delhi/Chennai: The Enforcement Directorate on Saturday searched properties linked to Karti Chidambaram, son of senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, in connection with its money laundering probe into the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

The searches were carried out at five locations, one in Delhi’s Jor Bagh and four in Chennai. The raids were conducted after Karti “failed” to join the investigation, sources told News18.

Addressing reporters in Delhi, Chidambaram said the ED has “no jurisdiction” to conduct the searches and that some of these properties belonged to him. “There is no FIR with respect to a scheduled crime filed by any agency, including the CBI. In the absence of a scheduled offence, there is no crime. The ED has no jurisdiction to investigate the matter under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).”

Speaking about the raid at Delhi’s Jor Bagh, Chidambaram said the ED officials were “embarrassed and apologetic” to find him there instead of his son Karti. “It's a comedy of errors that my Chennai residence and Delhi residence have been raided thrice and the ED has found nothing. In today's search, the ED was embarrassed and apologetic that I live here. They thought Karti lives here. They were searching the kitchen and bedroom. They found nothing.”

“They found nothing in the Chennai searches. From the Delhi residence, they've collected 39 blue sheets, which are statements made by the government in Parliament between 2012 and 2013, and the background papers of the statement,” Chidambaram said.

ED officials, however, told News18 that the Jor Bagh property in Delhi is jointly owned by Chidambaram and Karti. “The property in Jor Bagh is jointly owned by Karti Chidambaram and (his mother) Nalini Chidambaram. So saying this property had nothing to do with the search is wrong,” an official said.

The official also shot down Chidambaram’s contention that there was no FIR. “The CBI FIR in the case has not been quashed and P Chidambaram had earlier appeared before the CBI in the case. So it is wrong to say the case does not exist or the ED does not have jurisdiction.”

The raids are a part of an ED investigation into a money laundering case registered last year against Karti Chidambaram. The agency had raided properties of Karti’s close aides in Chennai and Kolkata on December 1.

The ED had, in September, also had attached Rs 1.16 crore worth of assets of Karti, who is being probed for allegedly receiving kickbacks in lieu of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance in the Aircel Maxis deal when his father was the Union Finance Minister in the UPA government.

The FIPB approval was supposed to go to the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs but Chidambaram senior allegedly approved it on his own and the amount for FIPB clearance was wrongly projected to conceal facts.

During investigation, it was found that a company promoted by Karti and A. Palaniappan, a nephew of Chidambaram, allegedly received $2 lakh from Maxis Group in the guise of software consultancy.

(With agency inputs)

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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