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If Not Harassment, Witch-hunt, Then What is It: Karti Chidambaram on Latest CBI Case

File photo of Karti Chidambaram. (News18)

File photo of Karti Chidambaram. (News18)

The FIR was arrested under IPC sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 477A (falsification of accounts), and sections 8 and 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act

Days after he was booked by the CBI in yet another corruption case, Congress MP Karti Chidambaram on Tuesday called it a witch-hunt and harassment and asserted he has full faith in the judiciary and trusts the institution to stand by the truth. Karti Chidambaram, the Congress MP from the Sivaganga constituency in Tamil Nadu, is accused by the CBI of facilitating visas of 263 Chinese nationals for a power company after receiving Rs 50 lakh as a bribe 11 years ago when his father P Chidambaram was the Union home minister.

Karti has said in a statement: "I have full faith in the judiciary of our great country and trust the institution to stand by the truth." "But if this is not harassment, not a witch hunt, then what is," he asked. He said he is heading back home Tuesday, as planned when he left India two weeks ago for a work/family visit to the UK and Europe.

"It does not intimidate me that the central government is once again using its agencies to accuse me of a malicious and completely fabricated charge. Previously, the agencies have gone after me based on the statement of an undertrial murder suspect. "Now, they are basing their bogus charges on the alleged actions of a deceased person, whom I have never met. I intend to continue to fight every one of their motivated attempts to target my father through me," he said in his statement shared on Twitter.

"For what it's worth, however, I firmly state that I am not associated with this visa issue directly, indirectly, vicariously, or even telepathically! The allegations against me by the CBI are ludicrous, to say the least," he said. He categorically denied all charges and said he had no relationship whatsoever with any of the corporate entities mentioned in the FIR. "I'm neither aware of them, nor have I ever been associated with them or any of their representatives in any manner," he said.

"I say with certainty that I have never facilitated even a single Chinese national in their visa process, let alone 250. I also have no knowledge of the procedures, processes, and formalities that need to be fulfilled in order to obtain visas related to project work in India. Further, I know no person who has the authority to issue such visas. I have also never known the person (now deceased) whose alleged action triggers this charge. He has never been examined by the CBI, and now, never can be," Karti also claimed. He said in the last seven years, he has been raided six times by the central government's agencies, "which have sadly become a single party's machinery to fulfill its political vendetta".

He also claimed that professionals associated with him are being targeted and harassed and their lives are being "wrecked" and "freedoms are taken away, just like mine" have been these last many years. CBI teams conducted coordinated search operations at 10 locations in multiple cities in the country, including residences of the Chidambaram's in Chennai and Delhi early morning on Tuesday last.

The searches were carried out after the agency registered the FIR on May 14 against Karti, his close associate S Bhaskararaman, the then associate vice president of Talwandi Sabo Power Project Vikas Makharia, who allegedly offered the bribe, Talwandi Sabo Power Limited (TSPL), Mumbai-based Bell Tools Limited through which bribes were allegedly routed, they said. The FIR was arrested under IPC sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 477A (falsification of accounts), and sections 8 and 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The CBI on Wednesday last arrested S Bhaskararaman in connection with the case, officials said.

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first published:May 24, 2022, 23:24 IST