Updated: December 17, 2015 4:24:01 am
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) searched the office of Karti Chidambaram, son of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, in Chennai on Wednesday, a fortnight after a joint team of the ED and Income Tax (IT) department searched the premises of companies allegedly linked to him.
A senior officer of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) said the searches were conducted in connection with a case of alleged money laundering in the Aircel-Maxis deal, apart from alleged tax evasion and Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) violations related to investments made in an eye-care chain.
The ED action drew strong criticism from P Chidambaram who had earlier accused the government of a “malicious onslaught” against his family. “As can be expected, nothing was found in the fishing and roving enquiry. I would like to see how far a foolish government will go in harassing him,” he said. “I still believe that the departments I left behind have many officers who will act according to law and their conscience.”
In a separate statement, Karti Chidambaram said there was “no basis” for the action. “I was informed that they are investigating three firms. Two of the firms belong to my friends. They are owned by professionals and managed by competent board of directors. I am not aware of the third firm,” he said.
“Neither I nor any of my family is a shareholder or director of any of the said firms. We do not have any economic interests in the said firms. I have no doubt that two firms of my friends will answer any questions put to them and clear any allegation made against them. Nothing related to these firms was found in my office and nothing related to the said firms was taken from my office,” he said.
The ED, in its statement, clarified that today’s action was part of its December 1 operation. “Shri Mohanan Rajesh, Additional Director, Advantage Strategic Consulting, told the search team that some of the documents relating to the company were lying in the premises of Chess Global Advisory Services Pvt Ltd, Chennai, in which Karti Chidambaram is one of the directors,” said the ED.
“Accordingly, search was conducted in the said premises. Evidence related to Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Ltd. was found at Chess Global Advertising Services Private Ltd. Chennai. However, one of the rooms in the premises was found locked and the team was intimated that the key of the room was with Karti Chidambaram, who had gone abroad. The room was therefore sealed, and on return of Karti Chidambaram, the search process was resumed in his presence,” said the statement.
Meanwhile, the Congress said the “blatant vendetta” was “yet another example of the politics of unreasonable and unjustified witch hunt that the Narendra Modi government has become an expert at.”
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