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Delhi HC issues notice to CBI on plea against Chidambaram's kin


New Delhi, April 25: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought the CBI's response on a plea alleging that a woman, related to former Union Minister P Chidambaram, has grabbed a hotel in Tamil Nadu in collusion with the officials of a public sector bank.

The petition filed by K Kathirvel, a doctor by profession who was running the hotel in partnership with his associates, accused Padmini, sister of Chidambaram's wife Nalini, of grabbing the property in collusion with Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) officials.

Former Union Minister P Chidambaram

Justice R K Gauba issued notice to the CBI and sought a status report by July 25 with regard to the complaint lodged by Kathirvel, who has alleged arm-twisting by the bank and Chidambaram's wife Nalini to grab the hotel for Padmini.

The court asked the probe agency to inform it about the action they have taken so far. CBI's standing counsel Rajdeepa Behura accepted notice for the agency and said she will file a response on the averments made in the petition.

Kathirvel alleged in his plea that he had filed a complaint with CBI in September 2016 against Chidambaram, his family members and top officials of IOB for grabbing his hotel, but the agency has not yet taken any step.

The petitioner said he had filed the complaint with the CBI director after CBI's Tamil Nadu unit showed reluctance to entertain it. According to his complaint, in 2007, the "Comfort Inn" hotel in Tirupur, in which he was a partner, was grabbed by them with the help of the top management of IOB.

Arguing for Kathirvel, his counsel Yatinder Chaudhary, said this was a clear case of abuse of power by the former Union Minister's family using banks to grab the properties they wished. He contended that even after clearing the dues, the bank went on with a "mock auction" to allot the hotel to Padmini.

The hotel was worth more than Rs 10 crore and had a loan due of Rs 2.5 crore with the IOB and the bank had declared the loan as non-performing asset and announced an auction, the complaint said. Kathirvel said he had approached the Madras High Court and later the Debt Recovery Tribunal, besides paying Rs 64 lakh ($96,000) to the IOB to avoid auction.

After receiving the amount, the bank promised cancellation of the auction, he claimed. He alleged that the bank cheated him and conducted a "farce auction" and allotted the hotel to Padmini at a very cheap rate of Rs 4.5 crore.


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