NEW DELHI: Karti Chidambaram, the son of former union minister P Chidambaram, was arrested in Chennai in connection to a corruption case this morning. The 46-year-old businessman has been accused of taking bribes to help a television company, INX Media, get clearance for foreign investments. Sources said the CBI suspects that he received Rs. 3.5 crore through a company linked to him and a fresh case will be filed against him. Appearing at a court in Delhi, Karti Chidambaram told reporters, "This is vendetta, I will be vindicated".
Here are the top 10 updates in this big story:
Karti Chidambaram was arrested at the Chennai airport this morning when he returned from London. He has been brought to Delhi by investigators for detailed questioning.
The CBI has sought two weeks' custody of Karti Chidambaram, saying he has not cooperated with the investigation. Senior advocate and lawmaker Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who is representing Karti Chidambaram, has rubbished the allegation.
Karti Chidambaram is accused of receiving kickbacks in 2007 to clear foreign investment worth around Rs. 300 crore in television company INX Media, using the influence of his father, who was then the Union finance minister.
The CBI said he also received money from INX media to scuttle a tax probe. The company was then owned by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, who are currently in jail on charges of murdering Ms Mukerjea's daughter Sheena Bora.
Last week, Karti Chidambaram had appealed to the Supreme Court, seeking a stay on Enforcement Directorate's summons of March 1 and expressing apprehension that he might be arrested on his return from London. His father P Chidambaram also appealed, saying he was the "real target" of the BJP-led Central government and his fundamental rights were being violated.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the arrest was "classic diversionary tactic" of the government deflect attention from the massive PNB fraud that involved celebrity jeweller Nirav Modi.
"This is law, not vendetta," BJP's Sambit Patra said. "If corrupt are being jailed and the law is taking its own course, I see no reason why any political party should cry vendetta."
The CBI filed a case against Karti Chidambaram in May. The agency, along with the Enforcement Directorate, carried out a string of raids since on the houses and offices owned by the Chidambarams. Karti Chidambaram was questioned several times.
A lookout notice, which alerts airports to stop a passenger from traveling abroad, was also issued against him as the agencies suspected that he would try to close the foreign accounts where he had parked the money from the kickbacks. On February 16, the Madras High Court allowed Karti Chidambaram to travel to the UK and France in connection with his business activities in those countries.
The arrest comes just before the parliament reconvenes for the second half of the budget session. The government is bracing for an attack from the opposition over the massive PNB loan fraud scandal. Karti Chidambaram's arrest is seen as a development that can help the government counter the opposition accusations.