Karti Chidambaram to be produced before court today; BJP, Congress slugfest continues

Karti, 46, was arrested by the CBI on Wednesday after he returned from London in connection with the INX Media money laundering case.

Karti Chidambaram to be produced before court today; BJP, Congress slugfest continues

New Delhi: Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram's son Karti will be produced before the Patiala High Court on Thursday, a day after he was arrested and sent to one-day police custody in connection with the INX Media money laundering case.

Karti, 46, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) following his return from London and thereafter sent to one-day police custody, as against 15 day-custody sought by the CBI.

In May 2017, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had registered a money laundering case against Karti for his role in facilitating clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB)for INX Media Ltd and its directors, Peter and Indrani Mukerjea - both accused in the murder of Sheena Bora -and others.

Karti has been accused of illegally taking service charges for obtaining FIPB clearance to the INX Media for receiving funds from abroad worth Rs 305 crore in 2007 when his father was the finance minister in the Congress-led UPA Government. 

The arrest of Chidambaram's son Karti has triggered a political slugfest between the Congress and the BJP.

While the Congress accused the BJP-led government of indulging in "political vendetta" and using the arrest as a "tactic" to divert attention from banking and other scams, the saffron party rejected the charge, saying there was no interference from the government and the law was taking its own course.

Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said it was a classic diversionary tactic to hide "corruption scams, mal-governance and mal-administration that have marred this government".

"The Congress party will not be deterred by the unleashing of vendetta against P Chidambaram or his family. We will continue to speak the truth. We will continue to expose the (Narendra) Modi government's corruption and continue to hold them accountable to the people of the country," he told reporters here.

"To divert attention and distract the narrative, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government are following their old trick of using a political witch-hunt, vendetta and malicious intent to deflect the heat from the unprecedented bank scams and loss to the public exchequer caused by the culture of crony capitalism," Surjewala alleged.

Countering the charge, Law Minister and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said the nature of evidence available against the offender must speak for itself and not the claim of revenge.

"...I will only make one observation. When such issues are raised, what is important is that the nature of evidence available against the offender must speak for itself and not the alibi of vendetta," he told reporters here.

Prasad said there was no interference from the government and that the law must take its course.

"The law is taking its course. The law must take its course. The CBI will explain all the details. We do not wish to interfere. There is no interference of the government," he said.

A band of Congress leaders, including Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi, came out in support of Karti Chidambaram, sharply criticising his arrest.

Senior Congress leader Sibal termed the arrest "malafide" and claimed that it was done to harass P Chidambaram.

"This is complete vendetta politics. This is completely malafide," he said.

(With Agency inputs)

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