Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram’s apprehension of “continued harassment” to him and his family members in a petition he filed recently in the Supreme Court, turned out to be true with the Central Bureau of Investigation arresting his son Karti Chidambaram in connection with the probe into the grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board approval in INX Media case.
Chidambaram, who was closely monitoring the case of his son in the Supreme Court which was argued by his party colleague and senior advocate Kapil Sibal, had sprung a surprise last week by filing a petition on his own accusing the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate of carrying out a political vendetta against him and his family.
In his petition, Chidambaram has sought the apex court’s direction prohibiting the CBI and ED from continuing their “illegal investigations” and from acting in any manner “causing repeated harassment” to him and his family members, including his son.
However, the CBI swung into action even before his petition could come up for hearing before the top court by arresting Karti on Wednesday.
In his plea, Chidambaram, himself a senior advocate, has said that the position in the INX Media case was “worse” as, though the CBI had lodged an FIR in May 2017, the probe agencies have not filed any report “concluding that any criminal offence had been committed or that any proceeds of crime had arisen out of that criminal offence”.
An FIR, filed by the CBI on May 15 last year, 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 the Union finance minister.
While the CBI has alleged that Karti had received funds to the tune of Rs 10 lakh in the case, the ED has also registered a money laundering case in the matter.
Chidambaram, in his petition before the apex court, has said that his fundamental rights were being violated due to “illegal” investigations being carried out by the CBI and the ED and the central government has been “misusing” its probe agencies.
He has said that being the finance minister then, he had granted FIPB approvals in the INX Media case and the Aircel-Maxis case in the “normal course of official business”. In discharge of his functions, he has “never allowed any member of his family, including his son, or any other person to interfere with or influence the conduct of official business”.
Chidambaram has said that the CBI and ED cannot “harass” Karti and others, who were totally unconnected with the FIPB approval by issuing repeated summons to them.
“The petitioner (Chidambaram) feels sad that his son and his business friends are being targeted,” the plea said, adding, “The entire investigation being conducted by the CBI and ED is a total farce and is being made only to malign the name of the petitioner and his son in the eyes of the public”.
He has also sought the apex court’s direction declaring that the proceedings emanating from FIR registered by CBI in the INX Media case as well as the “premature investigation” being conducted by the ED, were “without jurisdiction, an abuse of authority, and violative of Articles 14 (equality before law), 19 (freedom of speech and expression) and 21 (right to life and personal liberty) of the Constitution which inhere in the petitioner and the members of his family, and declare the said proceedings and investigations as null and void”.