CBI arrests P Chidambaram from Delhi residence; ED widens probe as four more FIPB approvals come under scanner
Troubles are set to increase for former finance minister P Chidambaram, who was arrested in INX Media case on Wednesday, with ED suspecting him of having favoured four other companies during his tenure
CBI arrested P Chidambaram Wednesday evening from his Delhi residence after launching a manhunt on Tuesday
ED has widened its probe in FIPB approvals in four companies Diageo Scotland, Katara Holdings, Essar Steel Limited and Elforge Limited
According to officials, kickbacks were received from illegal favours granted by Chidambaram via shell companies owned by his son Karti
Directors of the main shell company have made a will transferring entire shareholding to the granddaughter of P Chidambaram
The father-son duo also opened more than two dozen foreign bank accounts and own properties in Malaysia, the UK and Spain
New Delhi: After 24 hours of high drama and chase across the capital city, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested senior Congress leader P Chidambaram Wednesday evening from his Delhi residence. But, not before the former Union finance minister made a dramatic appearance at the Congress headquarters flanked by his lawyers and senior colleagues Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal.
Addressing reporters at the Congress headquarters, Chidambaram claimed he has not been accused of any offence in INX Media case, contrary to the findings of central probe agencies and subsequent observation of Delhi High Court on Tuesday.
Chidambaram also said that he was accused of hiding from the law when he was working with lawyers in the pursuit of justice. Interestingly, the former finance minister did not mention where he was in Delhi when both the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) officers had launched a manhunt Tuesday night to track him down.
After addressing the media, Chidambaram helped by a ruckus outside 24 Akbar Road, gave another slip to the CBI officers and landed at his Jor Bagh residence followed by a team from the CBI and ED. Finally, around 9.45 pm, the former finance minister was taken to the CBI headquarters.
After Chidambaram's arrest, his son and Lok Sabha MP Karti Chidambaram, who has also been named in the CBI FIR in the INX Media case, said the allegations were politically motivated and that he would approach the court for justice.
ED says Chidambaram being probed in four other FIPB cases
The ED officials claimed that besides the INX Media and Aircel-Maxis cases, Chidambaram is suspected to have favoured four other companies when he was the Union finance minister. AN ED note reviewed by the Firstpost said that both CBI and ED were probing Chidambaram’s role in Diageo Scotland, Katara Holdings, Essar Steel Limited and Elforge Limited.
"The CBI is investigating illegal FIPB approvals by Chidambaram in lieu of kickbacks paid to various shell companies floated by Karti in the name of his employees and other business associates. The ED is investigating the offence of money laundering of the kickbacks and their investments in movable and immovable properties in India and foreign countries. The investigation under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the case of Aircel-Maxis is still continuing due to deliberate withholding of requisite information by Chidambaram and his son Karti,” the ED note said.
During the investigation, several shell companies of Karti both incorporated in India and abroad have been identified in which kickbacks received from illegal favours granted by Chidambaram were deposited. In one of the shell companies, deposits of more than Rs 300 Crore have been made and it has been established by the probe agency that Chidambaram and Karti are the beneficial owners of the shell companies.
ED said that shareholders and directors of the main shell company have made a will transferring entire shareholding to the granddaughter of P Chidambaram and executor of the will is Karti. One of the shell companies also received payments from a company located in the British Virgin Islands, a tax haven territory.
The agency claims, its has also unearthed evidence to establish the fact that the deposits in these shell companies have been used to meet personal expenses of Chidambaram and his son Karti. The father-son duo, ED alleges, has also opened more than two dozen foreign bank accounts and purchased several immovable properties in Malaysia, the UK and Spain.
"Even though several incriminating document and emails were seized by the ED and the CBI during search operation from the premises of Chidambaram and Karti, both the accused have not cooperated during interrogation and deliberately refused to divulge any information about their investment in foreign bank accounts and immovable properties located in several other countries,” the ED note further added.
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