Officials of the Income Tax department and the Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday conducted searches at “some places” of business associates connected with Congress leader Karti Chidambaram, son of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
“Some searches are happening at this point of time”, a senior Income Tax investigation department official said.
The official declined to comment on where the searches were undertaken by the department but sources said three premises were searched on Tuesday.
Sources said, “certain companies” including a private eye care chain in which Karti Chidambaram allegedly had a stake, were being searched by the two agencies.
They said while the I-T had undertaken the action on charges of suspected tax evasion by these firms, the ED was a part of the searches in connection with their investigation under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act.
Following the searches, Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram accused the government of a “malicious onslaught” launched by it against his family and said if it wants to target him it should do so directly and not harass friends of his son Karti.
“If the government wishes to target me, they should do so directly, not harass friends of my son who carry on their own businesses and have nothing to do with politics,” he said in a statement shortly after reports of IT and ED searches on some premises connected with Karti’s friends.
“My family and I are quite prepared to face the malicious onslaught launched by the government,” Chidambaram said.
The senior Congress leader said he was travelling and he has been informed about searches conducted on certain firms in Chennai allegedly linked to his son.
“We have made it clear, repeatedly, that no member of my family has any equity or economic interest in any of the firms that are being targeted.
“They are companies that are professionally managed and are capable of answering any questions that may be put to them by the authorities. I condemn the attempt to link them to my son and harass them on that ground,” he said.
Chidambaram alleged that the agenda of the government is being implemented by an officer of the ED who has a pending dispute with the department of revenue, ministry of finance.
“Orders in his case were apparently passed during the term of my predecessor. He met me and wanted me to intervene in his favour. I declined and I told him that I cannot reverse orders that were issued during the term of my predecessor.
“The change of government has given him an opportunity to misuse his powers to harass my son and his friends,” he said.
Image: P Chidambaram with his son Karti. Photograph: Karti P Chidambaram/Facebook