The CBI early Wednesday morning arrested Karti Chidambaram, son of former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, in connection with its probe in the INX media case. Later in the day, he was produced at the Delhi CBI court, where it is learnt that the agency is seeking his custodial remand for further interrogation.
Karti was arrested at Chennai airport at around eight in the morning when he returned from the United Kingdom, the officials said.
The CBI had filed an FIR in the matter on May 15 last year alleging 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.
The CBI has also alleged that Karti had received funds to the tune of Rs 10 lakh in the case.
Besides the central probe agency, the Enforcement Directorate has also registered a money laundering case. The CBI is also probing the alleged irregularities in grant of the FIPB clearance to the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006.
Meanwhile, the Congress party has dubbed his arrest a “vendetta” and “diversionary tactic” by the government to hide its scams. Several Congress leaders, including the party’s communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala, Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi, spoke out against Karti Chidambaram’s arrest.
It was a “classical diversionary tactic” to hide “corruption scams, mal-governance and mal administration that have marred this government”, Surjewala said.
Senior Congress leader Sibal also termed the arrest “malafide” and said it was done to harass P Chidambaram. “This is complete vendetta politics, this is completely malafide,” he said.
Another party spokesperson and senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi said Karti Chidambaram’s arrest showed the government’s “double standards” as Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya were not stopped from fleeing the country, while Karti Chidambaram was arrested even when he returned from a foreign tour, he said.
He also questioned the timing of the arrest, asking if it had anything to do with the Karnataka elections and whether it was aimed at deflecting attention from the Nirav Modi fraud case.
(With inputs from PTI)