On a day when the CBI and the Income Tax department conducted raids in cases against former finance minister P Chidambaram and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said that the Centre had role in it and the agencies were acting independently.
The CBI on Tuesday conducted searches in Mumbai, Delhi, Gurugram and Chennai, including at the residences of P Chidambaram and his son Karti.
Raids were also conducted at 21 different locations in connection with benami land deals worth Rs 1,000 crore allegedly involving Lalu Prasad's associates.
"We haven't used or misused any of the agencies, we have allowed them to function independently, whether it is CBI, IT department or ED... There's no role for govt with regard to IT raids or CBI cases against either Chidambaram's son, Lalu Yadavji, Mayawatiji or Mulayam Singhji," news agency ANI quoted Naidu as saying.
What were the reactions across political spectrum?
Karti cries foul, dubs raid as political vendetta
Karti remained defiant and said he has done nothing wrong. He said the government will not be able to prove any allegations against him.
"This raid is being carried out only because of political vendetta... They want to suppress my voice. They cannot prove any allegations against me," he told media.
The charges against Karti and others include criminal conspiracy, cheating, taking gratification in order by corrupt or illegal means to influence public servant and criminal misconduct.
Chidambaram lashed out at Centre for using CBI to target his son
"The government, using the CBI and other agencies, is targeting my son and his friends. The government's aim is to silence my voice and stop me from writing, as it has tried to do in the cases of leaders of Opposition parties, journalists, columnists, NGOs and civil society organizations. All I will say is, I shall continue to speak and write," Chidambaram said in a statement.
The ED had earlier alleged that a firm linked to Karti Chidambaram received Rs 1.16 crore from companies whose FIPB clearances were done in an allegedly illegal manner by the then Union finance minister P Chidambaram.
Swamy calls Congress most corrupt party in history
The Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy has said that now the country will know that the Congress is the most corrupt party in the history of the world.
Swamy accused Chidambaram of giving illegal clearance to Foreign Investigation Promotion Board and alleged that former's son Karti always had benefited by such approvals.
He pulled Congress by saying that its president and vice-president are facing trial in the National herald case and senior leaders are now being probed.
Lalu dared Centre and said he is not afraid of ‘government puppets’
Lalu took to twitter to vent his ire and dubbed raids as ploy by BJP and the RSS to pressurise him. He cahellnged the Centre to reveal the names of 22 places raided.
"I am not scared of the BJP. There is a lot more to be done by bringing together all the parties sharing the same ideology," he said.
Another RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said attacking Lalu showed nervousness on the part of the union government.
The CBI earlier registered a case against Karti, Peter Mukerjea and Indrani Mukerjea, two private companies and unknown officials of ministry of finance for alleged corruption and criminal conspiracy for FDI approval for INX Media Pvt Ltd.
It is alleged that INX Media got an approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board for Rs. 4.62 crore investment, but it received Rs. 305 crore FDI by sale of shares at a premium of Rs. 800 a unit. Against the FIPB decision, a downstream investment of 26% of the funds was also allegedly made in INX News.
Lalu Yadav case:
On May 12, addressing a press conference at the party headquartes, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad demanded the Central Government to probe the alleged land deals. The minister had accused Lalu's daughter, Misa Bharti of failing to disclose assets in her election affidavit. He said the land deals dated back to the time when Lalu Prasad was the Union Railway Minister in the UPA government. He also wondered whether Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar would invoke the special law enacted by his goverment in which assets acquired through illicit means are confiscated.