The Delhi residence belongs to Karti and his mother Nalini. Other properties belonging to Karti and his associated companies were attached in connection with the INX Media money laundering case. The total value of these assets, including bank deposits, is estimated to be over Rs 54 crore.
“A bizarre and outlandish provisional attachment order which is not based on law or facts but on crazy conjectures, meant only to grab headlines,” Karti told TOI in response to the ED action. The order will not withstand judicial scrutiny, he said, and added that he will approach the courts soon.
Karti and his father, P Chidambaram, are facing a probe in the INX Media case registered by ED under the prevention of money laundering Act (PMLA) last year. It related to foreign direct investment approval granted by the finance ministry under Chidambaram to INX Media promoters Peter and Indrani Mukerjea when he was finance minister.
Both the promoters are currently in jail for the murder of Indrani’s daughter Sheena Bora.
The PMLA case is based on a CBI FIR which had said that Karti-controlled companies had received at least Rs 3.5 crore from INX Media for influencing the foreign investment promotion board (FIPB) clearance by the finance ministry.
A statement issued by Karti’s lawyer said the provisional attachment order “is an ex parte order based on the alleged transactions of companies in which my client, Karti Chidambaram, is neither a shareholder nor a director.”
The agency has also attached fixed deposits (FD) of Rs 9.23 crore of Karti in the Indian Overseas Bank’s Nungambakkam Branch in Chennai and another FD of Rs 90 lakh of the Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt Ltd (ASCPL), linked to him, with the DCB Bank in Chennnai.
“Investigation conducted by the directorate so far shows that for FIPB approval, Peter and Indrani Mukerjea met then FM P Chidambaram so that there was no hold up or delay in their application. Chidambaram asked for his son’s business interests to be kept in mind,” ED has claimed in its attachment order.
The agency said it has “identified payments of Rs 3.09 crore by Peter Mukerjea to ASCPL and associated entities controlled by Karti Chidambaram through manipulated debit notes. During investigation, it was admitted that debit notes were raised on the directions of Karti Chidambaram to show some transaction which in fact did not occur”.
The order further claims that the probe revealed that money received by associated entities was channeled back into ASCPL. “The funds received by ASCPL were invested and ASCPL also purchased shares of Vasan Health Care. A part of these shares were sold at a profit of nearly Rs 41 crore”.
“These funds arising from sale of laundered property are also property involved in money laundering. Efforts are on to trace other proceeds of crime and laundered assets. Further investigation in this matter is continuing,” ED said in a press release.