Aircel-Maxis case: Enforcement Directorate raids Chidambaram's house

Karti Chidambaram DH file

Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram on Saturday called the Enforcement Directorate searches of a property in Jor Bagh in New Delhi a "comedy of errors", as his son, Karti, is not an occupant of the house.

"There are obviously no proceeds of crime and the ED has no jurisdiction under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)", P Chidambaram told reporters.

ED had provided information about the alleged illegal payments made by INX Media and consequentially Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered FIR. No FIR has been filed so far over the crime that they claim we did and they do not have proof over anything.

He has been asked to appear by the agency on January 16 in this case. According to initial reports, the raids which are being conducted in Delhi and Chennai are in relation to the Aircel-Maxis case.

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The Congress, too, was critical of the action against its senior leader and termed the ED raids "a malicious vendetta" by PM Narendra Modi and his government against senior Congress leaders. "If the government or its agencies can tell we have these properties, we will execute decrees in their favour and the government can take their possession", Karti Chidambaram told a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

However, ED sources said their action is based on the FIR registered by the agency and the CBI in the case that has not been quashed by the court.

The Aircel-Maxis deal refers to a series of allegations of kickbacks in the telecom sector, which was part of the wider 2G scam that engulfed the UPA regime. Following the FIPB clearance, the 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.

It charged that Karti had "also closed certain bank accounts and attempted to close other bank accounts in order to frustrate the process of attachment" under the PMLA.

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