New Delhi: Calling his father the “most vocal critic of the government”, Karti Chidambaram on Thursday said the CBI action was aimed at silencing the former finance minister and to taint the Congress party. The Lok Sabha lawmaker also claimed that he has been raided the most number of times by probe agencies in the history of the country.
Karti’s comments come after his father P Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI from his residence over the INX media case. The Lok Sabha MP, who is also being probed in the case, also denied meeting Indrani or Peter Mukerjea – promoters of INX media.
“This is a completely motivated political witch hunt, it is to tarnish Congress’ image and to try to silence the most vehement critic of the Centre. My father has been the most vocal, articulate and vehement critic of this government. In order to silence him, this action has been taken. This has absolutely no legal basis,” Karti said after reaching Delhi airport from Chennai.
The Congress lawmaker from Sivaganga said that in spite a thorough probe there is no case against him and his father. Karti is also being probed over the alleged INX media scam.
“I have said this before…these are events, which apparently happened in 2008 for which an FIR was filed in 2017, a good nine years later. I have been summoned 20 times and raided four times. Nobody in the history of India was raided as much as I was raided. I was also in the custody of CBI for 11 days. Every single person associated with me, even as a casual acquaintance, were summoned and they still don’t have a case,” Karti said.
The Congress leader stated that he and his father are being targeted as there is “no legal requirement” for P Chidambaram to be available to anybody. “An anticipatory bail plea which was filed in May 2018, for which arguments got over in January 2019….where the judgement was reserved for seven months, the judgement came out… and there was no requirement for him to be available for anybody,” he said.
Alleging that the central probe agency is being used by the government, Karti said, “Nowhere in the history of India CBI gives a summon of 2 hours. I have received notices in the past, every time they summoned me they gave me at least 1 week time.” Upon reaching the former union minister’s residence on Tuesday, CBI officials were unable to find P Chidambaram and as a result, they pasted a notice at his premises asking him to present himself within two hours.
Karti said the “witch-hunting is being done for TV theatrics” and accused the CBI of flouting the standard procedures. “Was my father barricading himself with guns and bombs?” he asked.
On being asked if he ever met Peter Mukerjea and Indrani Mukerjea, Karti said, “I am categorically stating this that I have never met Peter or Indrani. I met Indrani when the CBI took me to confront her in Byculla jail in Mumbai. Other than that I have never met them. I had no interaction with anybody directly or indirectly connected with their company. I have never met anybody in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). I do not know the process of FIPB. I have never dealt with FIPB.”
“I have no idea who my father met in his official capacity. I am not a secretary in his office. I am not aware whom he meets and whom he doesn’t meet,” he said, responding to the question if P Chidamabaram had met Indrani and Peter.
“We will follow the legal process in the case. If there is evidence against us then they (probe agencies) should file a chargesheet. My father has not skipped a single summon. One must name the company of mine which has the 300 cr deposit,” the Congress leader asserted.
He further said that he is grateful to Congress party, especially Priyanka Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, for backing his father.
Chidambaram was arrested in the INX Media case on Wednesday night after he failed to get a pre-arrest bail from the Supreme Court as the matter was not heard by despite repeated efforts of his lawyers.
After his arrest by the CBI from his Jor Bagh residence, Chidambaram, 73, was taken to headquarters of the probe agency. He is likely to be produced before a CBI court at Rouse Avenue on Thursday.