The Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted searches at the multiple premises linked to Karti Chidambaram, the son of Congress leader P Chidambaram, early this morning in connection with its money laundering probe in the Aircel-Maxis case. The raids are being conducted in Delhi and Chennai.
Reacting to the raids, Congress leader P Chidambaram termed it “a comedy of errors” and claimed the officers were left “embarrassed” and “apologetic” as they could not find anything.
“They have searched premises in Chennai again but in a comedy of errors they came to search my premises in Jorbagh. Officers told me that they believed that Karti was an occupant of the house. I told them he is a resident of Chennai and I am the occupant of this house,” Chidambaram told reporters.
“Since they had to justify the search, they took some background papers related to a statement made by the government in Parliament in 2012-13. In Chennai also they found nothing, seized nothing,” he claimed.
The central probe agency, on December 1 last year, had conducted similar searches on the premises of a relative of Karti and others in this case.
The ED case pertains to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval granted in 2006 by the then finance minister P Chidambaram.
The ED also alleged that Karti has “disposed” of a property in Gurgaon, which he had allegedly rented out to a multinational company “to whom foreign direct investment (FDI) approval had been granted in 2013″. It charged that Karti had “also closed certain bank accounts and attempted to close other bank accounts in order to frustrate the process of attachment” under the PMLA.
The agency said FIPB approval in the Aircel-Maxis FDI case was granted in March, 2006 by the then FM even though he was competent to accord approval on project proposals only up to Rs 600 crore and beyond that it required the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).
“In the instant case, the approval for FDI of 800 million USD (over Rs 3,500 crore) was sought. Hence, CCEA was competent to grant approval. “However, approval was not obtained from CCEA,” it alleged.
(With inputs from PTI)