New Delhi: The Congress on Wednesday dubbed the arrest of senior leader P Chidambaram's son Karti a "diversionary tactic" by the government to hide its scams.
It added that "vendetta" would not deter the party from speaking the truth.
Several Congress leaders, including the party's communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala and Kapil Sibal spoke out against Karti's arrest.
It was a "classical diversionary tactic" to hide "corruption scams, mal-governance and mal-administration that have marred this government", Surjewala said.
"The Congress party will not be deterred by unleashing of vendetta against P Chidambaram or his family. We will continue to speak the truth. We will continue to expose the Modi government's corruption and we will continue to hold them accountable to people of the country," he told reporters.
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.
Sibal challenged the agencies to produce evidence against Karti. "They are always misusing the law," he said.
Karti was arrested at Chennai airport around 8 am on Wednesday when he returned from the United Kingdom. An FIR filed by the CBI on May 15, 2017, had alleged irregularities in the FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when Chidambaram was Union finance minister.
It is alleged that Karti received funds to the tune of Rs 10 lakh in the case, officials said, PTI reported.
"Modi government’s ‘mask of corruption crusader’ lies in shambles with successive scams getting uncovered over last 45 months and ‘zero action’ against fraudsters. Post-escape of Lalit Modi, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi have fled the country, duping 30 banks of Rs 22,606 crore and common people of an estimated Rs 5,000 crore through ponzi money for gold schemes. PNB alone, as on yesterday (Tuesday), estimated its loss at US$ 2 billion or Rs 13,000 crore. Add to this, the ‘Rotomac’ bank scam of Rs 3,695 crore and defrauding of OBC of Rs 390 crore by Dwarka Dass Seth International Private Limited, it is clear that ‘jandhan loot scams’ of Rs 31,691 crore have been exposed over last 10 days," the Congress' statement said.
"To divert attention and distract the narrative, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and his government are following their old trick in the book of using political witch hunt, vendetta and malicious intent to deflect the heat from unprecedented ‘bank scams’, ‘loss to public exchequer’ caused by the culture of crony capitalism. Political persecution of P Chidambaram and arrest of his son, Karti by a puppet CBI acting to serve the agenda of its political masters is nothing but a cog in this wheel," it added.
The Congress statement further said, "The FIPB approval was granted on 18.05.2007. FIR was lodged in May, 2017 i.e. after 10 years. CBI interrogated Karti Chidambaram twice in August, 201 and he cooperated fully. Yet out of the blue, arrest has been made on 28th February 2018 i.e. nearly after 11 years. FIR does not name Karti Chidambaram as an accused. Modi government’s/CBI charge is that a sum of Rs 10 lakh was given by cheque to M/s Advantage Strategic Consulting (P Ltd) towards management consultancy charges by M/s INX Media Private Limited for FIPB approval. Neither P Chidambaram or Karti Chidambaram or any other family member has ever been a shareholder or director or investor in either of the two companies. Advantage Strategic Consulting (P Ltd) agrees receiving the consultancy money and has reflected the same in its income tax return. Simple question is how does it establish any culpability on part of Karti Chidambaram."
"...P Chidambaram has always maintained that none of his family members ever had any intervention in the functioning of his ministry or of FIPB in any manner. Karti Chidambaram has categorically stated that he has no connection with FIB nor met any person, who is a member of or connected to FIPB in any manner whatsoever. In light thereof, CBI hasn’t been able to remotely establish any culpability. The absurdity of the allegation can be gauged from the fact that it is being alleged that inducement was given not to take money out of the country but to bring money into the country as an investment. Be that as it may, what connection does it have to P Chidambaram or his family members has not been disclosed. P Chidambaram and his son have already filed a case in the Supreme Court. It was last heard on 23rd February, 2018 and has been adjourned to 6th March, 2018. Isn’t this, then, a prelude to preventing adjudication?... Congress party and its leadership will not be deterred for speaking truth to the power and asking the government to hold itself accountable in people’s court."
(With PTI inputs)