The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday froze the assets of former Union Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram. According to reports, the move comes as part of the ongoing investigation into the Chidambaram family’s involvement in the INX Media case.
Over Rs 54 crore worth of assets have been frozen by the ED. This includes Karti’s Jor Bagh residence in New Delhi, bungalows in Ooty and Kodaikanal, a residence in the United Kingdom and the Barcelona Tennis Academy. The property in New Delhi is in fact registered in the name of P Chidambaram and Nalini Chidamabaram. Karti owns 50% of it.
Reacting to this development, Karti took to social media to say, “A bizarre and outlandish “Provisional Attachment Order” which is not based on law or facts but on crazy conjectures. This is meant only to grab “headlines”. The “order” will not withstand judicial scrutiny, review or appeal. Will approach the appropriate legal forum.”
The ED as well as the CBI have been conducting repeated searches at the properties of Karti Chidambaram and his associates over the past year.
Karti is facing a probe for his alleged role in facilitating the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance for INX Media when his father was the Union Finance Minister. The CBI FIR names INX Media directors, Peter and Indrani Mukerjea – both accused in the Sheena Bora murder case.
Karti is alleged to have received Rs 3.5 crore from Mumbai-based INX Media, now 9X Media, for helping the company get the FIPB clearance when it was run by the Mukerjeas.
The ED, which is probing financial misappropriation in the case, has contended that the Mukerjeas had “allegedly siphoned off 90 million pounds and the money is suspected to have gone to foreign countries through hawala routes”.
Following the FIPB clearance, INX Media said it had received Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of Rs 46.20 million, but actually received Rs 3,053.60 million between August 2007 and May 2008, the ED said.
Accordingly, this excess foreign exchange equivalent to Rs 3,004.40 million, beyond the disclosed permitted foreign investment, was received by INX Media from three Mauritius-based investors, the ED had said.