Karti Chidambaram has denied the corruption allegations against him (PTI)
- He was taken into custody at Chennai airport this morning
- He is being questioned inside, will be taken to Delhi later: Sources
- He is accused in INX Media money laundering case, denies charges
Karti Chidambaram, the son of former union minister P Chidambaram, was sent to CBI custody for a day by a court in Delhi yesterday. The 46-year-old businessman was arrested on Wednesday morning in Chennai and then brought to Delhi. He 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. While he was being taken to court, Karti Chidambaram told reporters, "This is vendetta, I will be vindicated".
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Karti Chidambaram was arrested at the Chennai airport on Wednesday morning when he returned from London. He has been brought to Delhi by investigators for detailed questioning.
The CBI had sought two weeks' custody of Karti Chidambaram, saying he was arrested because he failed to cooperate with the investigation.
Senior advocate and lawmaker Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who is representing Karti Chidambaram, told the court that Karti Chidambaram has undergone 22-hour questioning and had fully cooperated with the investigation. He had permission from the Madras High Court to travel abroad and did not receive any fresh summons when he returned, Mr Singhvi said.
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 owned at the time by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, who are currently in jail on charges of murdering Ms Mukerjea's daughter Sheena Bora. The agency also claimed that it had information on the junior Chidambaram but could not speak about it in an open court.
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 had also filed an appeal, 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.
The BJP said it was a matter of law and not vendetta. Party spokesperson 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.