New Delhi: Karti Chidambaram, son of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, was today arrested by the CBI in connection with its probe in the INX media case, officials here said.
Karti was taken into custody by a team of CBI officials at the Chennai airport on his return from the United Kingdom, they said.
After completing necessary formalities, the 46-year-old Karti was put on a domestic flight to the national capital where he would be produced before a designated court in the late afternoon.
The agency had summoned Karti for questioning earlier but he had sought stay orders from various courts An FIR filed by the CBI on May 15 last year had alleged irregularities in the FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when Chidambaram was the Union finance minister. It is alleged Karti had received funds to the tune of Rs 10 lakh in the case, they said.
The CBI alleged Karti also received money from INX media to scuttle a tax probe. The firm was owned at the time by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, who are currently in jail on charges of murdering Indrani’s daughter Sheena Bora.
The Enforcement Directorate has also registered a money laundering case.
The CBI and the ED had carried out a series of raids on the houses and offices owned by the Chidambarams. Karti Chidambaram was questioned several times by the ED.
A lookout notice, which prevents a passenger from traveling abroad, was issued against him as the agencies suspected that he would try to close the foreign accounts where he had parked the money from the kickbacks. In November, the Supreme Court allowed Karti Chidambaram to go to the UK for his daughter’s admission in the Cambridge University.
His father was not available for comments but had earlier denied involvement of his son in any case. The CBI is also probing the alleged irregularities in grant of the FIPB clearance to the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006.
The arrest of Karti drew angry reactions from the Congress party which labelled his arrest as “vendetta” and “diversionary tactic” by the Modi government to hide its scams and “mal-governance”.
Karti Chidambaram’s arrest would not deter the party from speaking the truth to hold the government accountable, the party’s communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said.
According to the CBI, INX Media clearly states in its records that Rs 10 lakh was given to Advantage Strategic Consulting (P) Limited, a firm “indirectly” owned by Karti, for management consultancy charged towards FIPB notification and clarification.
The FIR also alleges that invoices of approximately Rs 3.5 crore were raised in favour of INX group in the name of other companies in which Karti had substantial interests “directly or indirectly”.
The agency has registered an FIR against Karti, his company Chess Management Services, the Mukerjeas, INX Media, Advantage Strategic Consulting Services and its Director Padma Vishwanathan.
The allegations levelled by the CBI are based on the information given by “source”, the FIR has claimed.
INX Media was seeking investment from Mauritius, an official explained.