Karti Chidambaram is a Congress politician and son of a Congress veteran P Chindabaram shrouded with controversy.
Karti and his father have been facing allegations of corruption for a decade from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He has maintained all along, that he is a target of political vendetta.
CBI has been a frequent figure in his political life, which is indicated in a tweet where he mentions he has been raided around 6 times in 6 different locations today.
This time CBI raided his offices and associates in 6 cities Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Karnataka, Punjab, and Odisha.
CBI conducted this raid on fresh charges of allegedly facilitating visas of 250 Chinese nationals after receiving illegal gratification of Rs 50 lakh.
What is the case? what are some of the controversies he has been in the past? Let us find out
What is the case?
According to the CBI, this is a case set in 2011 in Punjab Mansa.
The allegations are that Talwandi Sabo Power Limited (TSPL) was in the process of establishing a 1980 MW thermal power plant at Mansa.
The work was outsourced to a Chinese firm M/s Shandong Electric Power Construction Corporation (SEPCO).
Since the project was running behind schedule causing huge financial repercussions in terms of penalties, interest on bank loans etc, the company tried to bring more Chinese professionals to work on the site over the ceiling imposed by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
For this purpose, the company’s representative Vikas Makharia allegedly approached Mr Karti’s close associate Mr Raman and sent a letter dated 30th July 2011 to the MHA.
After discussion with the Home Minister, it is alleged that Mr Raman asked for 50 lakh in cash for the approvals.
On August 30, 2011, the company was granted a permission letter for re-use of 263 project visas and the alleged bribe of ₹50 lakh was paid in cash to Mr Raman.
Mr Makharia also sent an email to Mr Karti attaching a copy of the permission letter and thanked him.
This particular set of visas was introduced in 2010 only for the power and steel sectors only.
Detailed guidelines were issued by P Chidambaram to stop the misuse of these visas, but an exemption was made in this circumstance leading to suspicion.
The FIR goes on to state, “There is reason to believe that the then Home Secretary and Home Minister were in the knowledge of the matter of M/s TSPL, and work of M/s TSPL was done through them but it is not ascertained at this stage whether P. Chidambaram, the then Home Minister, and the then Home Secretary were in the knowledge of the demand and payment of illegal gratification or not.”
The INX Media Case.
This again is an infamous case where the father-son duo were heavily implicated.
The case starts in 2008, when Finance Ministry flagged some irregularities in FDI investment (Rs 350 Crore) by three Mauritius-based companies in INX Media Pvt Ltd, then owned by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea.
This case was then forwarded to ED, during the investigation they found documents related to this transaction and INX media in Karti’s CA’s laptop.
These documents thicked the plot, even more, where illicit payments were made to Karti for receiving a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance by the finance ministry.
The CBI registered a case against Karti and his father P Chidambaram and the ED launched a money laundering case against the former.
Chidambaram junior was arrested by the CBI in February 2018 and was granted bail a month later in March.
The new case is an offshoot of the ongoing probe in the INX media case.
The Aircel-Maxis case
This is considered one of the most elaborate scams and gross misuse of power by the government at the top level.
Senior BJP leader and advocate Subramanian Swamy had alleged that a company controlled by Karti Chidambaram had in 2006 received a five per cent stake in Aircel, an Indian network operator, in return for getting Maxis to pay Rs 40 billion for 74 per cent shares in Aircel.
According to Swamy P Chidambram stopped the FIPB approval until he received what he demanded for his son.
This scam was unearthed when Maxis took over Aircel in 2006 and owner C Sivasankaran complained to the CBI alleging he had been pressured to sell his stake to Maxis.
The ED got involved and the investigation revealed that Chidambaram, who was then the finance minister, played a role in getting the approval in 2006.
The probe also pointed out irregularity like a deal above 3,500 crores has to be referred to the cabinet committee, as the finance minister only has authority to pass projects only up to Rs 600 crore.
All of these scams have helped the duo to amass a huge amount of wealth and a wide variety of assets.
From a tennis club in Spain to a cottage in Great Britain, the duo own it all.
Even though Karti Chidambaram has not been as politically relevant as his father but time and again he has come into the Indian political spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
Thus he cannot be ignored in Indian politics.
Credits:- The First Post and The Hindu
Featured Image Credit:- Telegraph