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It's political vendetta, alleges Chidambaram on action against Karti


Former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Monday told the Supreme Court that the BJP-led government has been carrying on a "politically-motivated vendetta" against him and his son.

P Chidambaram

The apex court was hearing CBI's appeal challenging a Madras High Court order staying the Centre's look out circular (LOCs) against Karti and others in an alleged graft case over irregularities in Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007.

Chidambaram and his son Karti, facing the criminal probe, have filed separate affidavits in the apex court alleging vendetta.

"Since the NDA government came to power, the central government has been carrying on a politically motivated vendetta against my family and especially my son. The agencies of the central government have not spared the friends of the first respondent (Karti) or even persons remotely connected with him," Chidambaram said.

He also said the FIPB that dealt with the proposal of INX Media Ltd was chaired by D Subba Rao, who later became RBI Governor, and was succeeded by Ashok Chawla who later became Chairman of Competition Commission of India.

"The other members of FIPB, at the relevant time, were equally distinguished civil servants," he said.

"The FIR in the INX Media case is a politically motivated FIR intended to embarrass and humiliate me and the members of my family," Chidambaram added.

On the other hand, Karti Chidambaram on Monday sought permission to travel to the United Kingdom to admit his daughter for higher studies in the Cambridge.

Karti, in his affidavit, responded to CBI's allegation that he has multiple accounts and assets abroad, saying his family owns only one asset abroad which was acquired by transfer of funds through nationalised banks under the RBI's liberalised remittance scheme.

Karti also added that he has got only one account in UK's Metro Bank which was opened in 2016 and has not received any remittance from anyone except him, his wife and daughter.

He also stated that the banks in UK have strict laws for opening bank accounts for 'Politically Exposed Persons' and, because of his father's political clout, they were subjected to rigorous scrutiny by the international banks.

The CBI FIR, lodged on May 15, had alleged irregularities in FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when Karti's father was the Finance Minister.

On October 4, the CBI had alleged in the apex court that Karti had "tampered" with evidence relating to an alleged graft case against him during his visits abroad in the months of May, June and July this year.

The agency had said that there was a need to issue a LoC against Karti as he had the "potential" to tamper with the evidence and he had done this during his visits abroad.

CBI had last month told the apex court that Karti was prevented from travelling abroad as he was allegedly closing several of his foreign bank accounts.

The CBI's contention was strongly refuted by Karti's counsel.


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