Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram arrested by CBI

Before his arrest, Chidambaram briefly appeared at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi to address the media on the charges levelled against him in the INX Media case

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidamabram’s son Karti Chidambram has termed action against his fatheras “political witch hunt” who was arrested in the INX Medica money laundering case.

This is a political witch-hunt. Outrageous media leaks are the preferred tactics of the @dir_ed. I have nothing to do with INX or the FIPB. All my assets and liabilities are duly declared in statutory and regulatory filings. I have repeated this ad nauseam, (sic)”

said Karti, who is also the MP from Sivaganga constituency, said in a tweet, minutes before his father was arrested by CBI officials.

Outside his house in Chennai, Karti Chidambaram reiterated the comments he made earlier and described it as “a political witch-hunt”.

“There is no case as they haven’t filed a chargesheet. This is a kind of spectacle,” said Karti Chidambaram as dramatic scenes were witnessed outside his father’s residence in Delhi, where CBI officials jumped over the wall to gain entrance. The move came after the former finance minister made a sudden appearance at the AICC headquarters after being untraceable for more than 24 hours.

The former finance minister had moved the Supreme Court on Wednesday seeking protection from arrest in the INX Media case, but failed to get reprieve after the court refused to take a decision “right away” and forwarded his petition to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. The Delhi High Court had earlier turned down his plea saying “facts of the case prima facie reveal that” he is the “kingpin that is the key conspirator in the case”, and he was evasive in replies to probe agencies when he was under protective cover given by the court.

In another tweet Karti alleged that he has been raided four times and has appeared for over 20 summons. He also said there has been no chargesheet.

I have been raided 4 times. Appeared for over 20 summons. Each session for a minimum of 10 to 12 hours. Been a “guest” of the CBI:) for 12 days. There is still no chargesheet for alleged events which apparently took place in 2008 and a FIR in 2017. There is no case (sic),”

Karti tweeted.

Karti thanked party leaders, including Priyanka Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, for supporting.

Minutes after Chidambaram, a former union minister, was taken to the CBI headquarters in New Delhi on Wednesday night amid high drama from his house, Karti said the case was apparently about events that happened in 2008.

He alleged the entire thing was a drama and spectacle enacted by probe agencies to simply sensationalise and satisfy the “voyeuristic pleasure” of some.

“For events which happened in 2008 they filed an FIR in 2017 and in August 2019 they still don’t have a charge sheet which means there is no case,” he claimed.

The arrest of his father was an attempt aimed at diverting people’s attention from serious issues, Karti alleged.

“This is a completely trumped up, made for television, made for media kind of spectacle,” he charged.

He said that if the investigating agencies had a water tight case there would have been a charge sheet by now but there was none “after four raids, 20 summons and 11 days of custody,” Karti said referring to the action against himself.

Karti, who was in jail for 23 days before being granted bail by the Delhi High Court in March last year in the case, said he had been grilled by CBI for ten hours on most occasions when he appeared before the agencies.

To a question, he said his father “was not absconding, ” after the Delhi high court denied him anticipatory bail, maintaining it was not mandatory for such a person to produce himself before the investigating agencies.

Asserting that his father had appeared before the agencies whenever summoned, he said CBI had sought the presence of Chidambaram only once in this case and the ED a number of times.

“There had not been a single summon where he has not appeared,” he claimed.

Noting that they would face the case legally and through text judicial process, Karti expressed confidence that “we will be vindicated eventually. ”

CBI had registered an FIR in the case on May 15, 2017 alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to the media group for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister.

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