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CBI books Karti, searches premises linked to Chidambaram

Former Union minister questions the timing of the search and says the sleuths 'found nothing and seized nothing'
P Chidambaram addresses a Congress news conference on May 14.
P Chidambaram addresses a Congress news conference on May 14.
PTI Photo

Imran Ahmed Siddiqui   |   New Delhi   |   Published 18.05.22, 03:21 AM

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday conducted searches at various premises linked to former Union minister P. Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram in Chennai and Delhi after registering a fresh case against the latter for allegedly receiving Rs 50 lakh as bribe in exchange of facilitating the visa of 250 Chinese nationals for a power project in Punjab 11 years ago.

CBI sources said seven premises linked to the Congress MP Karti Chidambaram and his associates were searched across Chennai, Mumbai, Odisha and Delhi.


Reacting to the latest CBI raid, Karti tweeted: “I have lost count, how many times has it been? Must be a record.”

Later he wrote: “My office has just updated on the “record”, twice in 2015, once in 2017, twice in 2018 & today. 6!”

His father P. Chidambaram, former Union minister, questioned the timing of the search and said the CBI team “found nothing and seized nothing.”

Chidambaram, who heads the Congress committee on economy, had last week announced the party’s plan for a pro-poor policy reset. He had also said at a news conference that the Modi government appears clueless on how to deal with external developments.

“This morning, a CBI team searched my residence at Chennai and my official residence at Delhi. The team showed me an FIR in which I am not named as an accused. The search team found nothing and seized nothing. I may point out that the timing of the search is interesting.”

Chidambaram’s tenure is coming to an end in the Rajya Sabha and he is likely to be re-nominated from Tamil Nadu.

Asked about the fresh case against Karti now in a matter dating back to 2011, a CBI official said: “Recently, we stumbled upon some documents involving bribery allegations against Karti while probing the INX media case.”

The FIR, sources said is based on allegations that Karti accepted a bribe of Rs 50 lakh sent to an account of one of his accomplices to facilitate visas for 250 Chinese nationals working with a Chinese company.

“It was alleged that there was a power project in Punjab for whose implementation the work was outsourced to a Chinese firm. The company wanted to bring some Chinese professionals to the work site for which it needed project visas over and above the ceiling fixed by the Union home ministry,” the official said.

P. Chidambaram was Union home minister in 2011, the official said.

Both Chidambaram and his son Karti are already being investigated in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance to INX Media for receiving funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore when senior Chidambaram was the finance minister.

The CBI in May 2017 had registered a case against P. Chidambaram and his son Karti in connection with the alleged irregularities in the FIPB clearance to the INX Media in 2007 when the senior Congress leader was finance minister. Based on the CBI’s FIR, the ED later registered a money laundering case.

Both were later arrested in the case and are out on bail.

The agency alleged that Chidambaram during his tenure as finance minister had facilitated a huge transfusion of foreign funds for the TV company and his son Karti had allegedly received kickbacks for the deal.

The agency is also investigating Chidambarams in Aircel-Maxis case involving a clearance of $800 million foreign investment in 2006 when P. Chidambaram was finance minister. The CBI and ED had alleged that the deal was done allegedly in exchange of kickbacks.

P. Chidambaram had denied the allegations and accused Modi government of political vendetta.

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