The Enforcement Directorate (ED) today conducted searches at the premises of Karti Chidambaram, son of senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, in New Delhi and Chennai in connection with the INX Media money laundering case.
The central investigation agency had registered a case against Karti and others in May this year in which Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), the ED's equivalent of a police FIR, lodged against the alleged named in a CBI complaint, together with Karti Chidambaram, INX Media and its directors, Peter and Indrani Mukerjea.
However, the raids at the premises of Mr Chidambaram in Chennai ended within three hours, during which no documents were taken by the ED authorities.
He said the ED officials searched the place "including the kitchen and the bathroom and obviously they found nothing".
"There are obviously no proceeds of crime and the ED has no jurisdiction under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)", he added. The agency said FIPB approval was granted in March, 2006 by the then FM even though he was competent to accord approval on project proposals only up to Rs 600 crore and beyond that it required the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). No FIR has been filed so far over the crime that they claim we did and they do not have proof over anything.
ED officials, however, told News18 that the Jor Bagh property in Delhi is jointly owned by Chidambaram and Karti.
"Since they had to justify the search, they took some background papers related to a statement made by the government in Parliament in 2012-13". "It's a comedy of errors that my Chennai residence and Delhi residence have been raided thrice and the ED has found nothing".
"In Chennai also, they produced a statement after their searches". They found nothing, they seized nothing.
"The officers were polite".
The Congress leader also made a tongue-in-cheek remark, saying: "I will compliment them (investigating agencies) if they are able to find anything (objectionable) in raids in future".
The ED had, in September, also had attached Rs 1.16 crore worth of assets of Karti, who is being probed for allegedly receiving kickbacks in lieu of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance in the Aircel Maxis deal when his father was the Union Finance Minister in the UPA government. The agency claims Karti received money from the media company in exchange for manipulating a tax probe against it.