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Karti Chidambaram’s arrest: Congress calls it vendetta, diversionary tactics of Modi govt

The CBI alleges Karti Chidambaram used his influence in the finance ministry to help INX Media get approval for foreign investments from three Mauritius-based investors. His father, P Chidambaram, was the finance minister then.

india Updated: Feb 28, 2018 11:40 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Karti Chidambaram,Congress,Chidambaram
Karti Chidambaram, son of Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram, was arrested by the CBI on Wednesday morning. (Sonu Mehta/HT File Photo)

The Congress on Wednesday slammed the arrest of former finance minister P Chidambaram’s son, Karti, in a money-laundering case as Modi government’s “vendetta and vindictive politics” to target its opponents.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday morning arrested the 46-year-old businessman from the Chennai airport in what has come to be known as the INX Media money-laundering case.

“Classical diversionary tactic to hide Scams & Colossal Corruption that is being exposed on a daily basis, be it NiMo+Choksi, DD Jewellers and Rotomac,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted. “However, it will not stop the Congress from bringing the truth out to the people.”

The CBI in 2017 named Karti as an accused along with the then INX Media promoters Peter Mukerjea and his wife, Indrani and charged them with criminal conspiracy, cheating, receiving illegal gratification, influencing public servants and criminal misconduct.

The CBI alleges Karti used his influence in the finance ministry to help INX Media get approval for foreign investments from three Mauritius-based investors. His father was the finance minister then.

The INX Media had allegedly received foreign investments to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007-08 following a clearance by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board.

The arrest comes at a time when the Congress has launched an offensive against the BJP-led NDA government over the alleged Rs 12,636-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud perpetuated by jewellers Nirav Modi and his uncle, Mehul Choksi, who have both left the country.

The Congress is of the view that the PNB fraud has hit the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who made the alleged corruption during the Congress-led UPA rule a poll issue in 2014 and continues to do so even today.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi is leading the charge against Modi and his government, talking about it in his campaign speeches.

It remains to be seen if Karti’s arrest will take the sting out of the Congress’ onslaught against the Modi government.

A Congress leader said Karti’s arrest would put “tremendous” pressure on the government to bring back not just Nirav Modi and Choksi but also former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi and disgraced businessman Vijay Mallya, who, too, face similar charges.

The ruling BJP would use the arrest to show that the government was acting tough against those involved in graft and also hit back at the Congress over the issue of corruption, sources said.

Karti’s arrest followed months of investigation and gathering of incriminating evidence, BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said.

“The facts in this case clearly show how private gains were made by perpetrating fraud by subversion of governmental processes and abuse of public office. This is a textbook case of financial fraud,” he said.

First Published: Feb 28, 2018 11:38 IST