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Posted at: May 17, 2017, 1:53 AM; last updated: May 17, 2017, 12:03 PM (IST)

Chidambaram’s son, Lalu face multi-city ‘graft’ raids

Oppn alleges political vendetta, govt calls it a ‘day of reckoning’

New Delhi, May 16

Law enforcement agencies today raided the residences and properties of top Opposition leaders P Chidambaram of the Congress and Lalu Prasad Yadav of the RJD as well as businessmen in a multi-city crackdown on alleged corruption and benami properties.

The searches by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Income Tax (I-T) Department were condemned by the Opposition as “political vendetta”, with the Congress saying it will not be cowed down by the politics of “revenge” which was in the “DNA of the government”.

Edit: The Raid Raj

However, the NDA government hit back, saying today was the day of accountability for the “corrupt”. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stoutly defended the searches, asserting that the “day of reckoning” has come for many and they will be held accountable for their misdeeds.

The CBI searched the homes and offices of Karti Chidambaram, son of former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, across four cities, including Chennai, for allegedly receiving money from media firm INX owned by Indrani and Peter Mukerjea to allegedly manipulate a tax probe.

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Separately, the I-T Department raided at least 22 locations in Delhi and adjoining areas in connection with alleged benami deals stated to be worth Rs 1,000 crore linked to Lalu Prasad, who is the chief of Rashtriya Janata Dal, and some of his family members. RJD is a partner of the ruling alliance in Bihar.

CBI sleuths fanned out across the Chidambarams’ properties in Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi and Gurugram early in the morning, a day after the agency filed an FIR against Karti, his company Chess Management Services, the Mukerjeas (currently in jail on charges of murdering their daughter Sheena Bora), INX Media, Advantage Strategic Consulting Services and its director Padma Vishwanathan.

The FIR related to charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, receiving illegal gratification, influencing public servants and criminal misconduct. The CBI, which searched Chidambaram’s home in Nugambakkam in Chennai, also carried out searches at the house of Peter Mukerjea, a former media baron, in Mumbai.

It is alleged that Karti received money from INX Media, which was promoted by the Mukerjeas, for using his influence to manipulate a tax probe against it in a case of violation of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) conditions to receive investment from Mauritius.

P Chidambaram said the government was using the CBI and other agencies to target his son to silence his voice. The FIPB approval was granted in “hundreds of cases”, the senior Congress leader said.

The five secretaries who constitute the FIPB, the officials of the secretariat and the competent authority are public officials, Chidambaram said, adding that there was no allegation against any.

“There is no allegation against me,” he added.

Karti said he has not done anything wrong and alleged political vendetta. The Congress accused the BJP of being blinded by revenge to target its opponents. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also accused the Centre of unleashing political vendetta.

 IT officials said the department began raiding the premises of some prominent businessmen and real estate agents in Delhi, Gurgaon, Rewari and a few others since early morning in connection with alleged benami deals linked to Lalu Prasad. In the national capital, tax department teams visited posh localities in New Friends Colony, Sainik Farms and a few farmhouses in Bijwasan and South Delhi areas.

Prasad, however, sought to put up a brave face, saying he was “not scared at all” and will continue to fight against the “fascist forces”.  The IT officials said the searches are also being conducted at the premises of the son of RJD MP PC Gupta and a few other businessmen involved in the purchase and sale of real estate assets. — PTI

Revenge in BJP’s DNA, says Cong

New Delhi: Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala said "revenge was in the DNA of the BJP government". He asked why no action was taken in graft cases against BJP leaders. "Is Vyapam not corruption? Has the PM acted against MP CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan who was also the Medical Education Minister then? Under what circumstances did Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje submit an affidavit in favour of fugitive Lalit Modi? What action has the PM taken in the Rs 20,000 crore Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation scam which unfolded when he was the Chief Minister?" Surjewala asked. TNS

BJP counters chidambaram

New Delhi: Rejecting P Chidambaram's charge that he was being targeted for his columns critical of the government, Union Minister Piyush Goyal claimed the issue was why beneficiaries of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board gave "money to firms owned by his son". "The former Union Finance Minister's columns did not exactly set the Yamuna on fire," he said. TNS


QUOTES

"People in high positions acquiring assets through shell companies is not a small matter... day of reckoning has come for many, they will be held accountable... unless there is substantial basis, reason to suspect evasion or crime, depts don’t act. —Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister

"Government is using the CBI and other agencies to target my son. Its aim is to silence my voice and stop me from writing, as it has tried to do in the cases of leaders of Opposition parties, journalists, NGOs and civil society organisations. —P Chidambaram, Former FM

"BJP does not have the courage to stifle my voice... if it tries to silence one Lalu, crores of Lalu will come forward. I am not scared of empty threats... BJP was sensing  opportunity to destabilise Grand Alliance in Bihar, but alliance is intact. —Lalu Prasad Yadav, RJD Chief

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