The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Saturday conducted searches at the residences of Karti Chidambaram, son of Congress leader P Chidambaram, in connection with its money laundering probe in the Aircel-Maxis case. Searches started at 7.30 am and lasted three hours on Karti’s premises in Delhi and his residence at Nungambakkam in Chennai city. Terming the searches targeting his son a “comedy of errors”, Chidambaram said the officials who searched his premises were embarrassed and apologetic as they could not find anything.
In his statement, Chidambaram said nothing was found in the searches, “the panchnamas speak for themselves”. “Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued notices to the ED in cases where the submission is that the ED has no jurisdiction to conduct any investigation in the so called Aircel-Maxis case. The ED was asked to file its reply and the cases were adjourned to January 30, 2018. There is no FIR against me or my son in the Aircel-Maxis case.
There is no predicate scheduled offence. Hence the ED has no jurisdiction. Yet the ED, at the instance of the government, continues to misuse its powers. I belong to the opposition party. Let the government misuse the ED. I shall neither bend nor break and I shall continue to speak and write,” Chidambaram said in his statement.
Reacting to the ED searches, senior Congress leader Karate Thiagarajan said it has become a routine for central agencies to raid Chidambaram’s house on holidays. “Since ED, Income Tax, CBI and almost all the key central agencies have completed their searches, the BJP ruling the Centre should now ask the Tamil Nadu government to search for dengue mosquitos too using Chennai corporation’s health team,” he said.
Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said the “hurriedly conducted” raids have again “exposed the continuing vicious vendetta unleashed by the Modi government against Congress and other opposition leaders”.
“The stark truth is that the Prime Minister and his government are using agencies like ED/CBI as captive puppets to settle political scores and intimidate political opponents. In fact, ‘Raid Raj’ has become the ‘DNA’ of the Modi government,” he said. “Congress leaders will not be cowed down or bow in the face of such malicious and wilful attempts to browbeat, bulldoze or overawe.”
He added, “Our resolve to raise people’s issues and hold the government and Prime Minister accountable on policy and promises become stronger with such spiteful and hostile onslaught to suppress the voice of opposition. It is now apparent that the BJP government is ruffled by a series of political, administrative and judicial reversals and is using these raids to draw the attention of the country from its abject failures.”