INX Media Case: Karti Challenges ED Notice to Vacate Jor Bagh Home
The property was attached by the ED on 10 October last year.
Karti Chidambaram, son of former Union minister P Chidambaram, challenged the Enforcement Directorate's notice, on Thursday, to vacate his Jor Bagh residence. He alleged that the government was pursuing a politically motivated vendetta against his family.
Karti's immovable property, situated in the posh locality, was attached by the ED on 10 October last year, in connection with the INX Media corruption case in which the father-son duo is accused.
The eviction notice was served on Wednesday evening following an earlier order of the Adjudicating Authority, PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act).
The case involving Rs 305 crore relates to Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval granted in 2007 for receipt of funds by INX Media.
Karti’s Plea Against ED’s Decision
Karti approached the authority saying an appeal in this regard was already pending adjudication and the ED's directions on Wednesday were “a violation of law”.
“The central government has been pursuing a politically motivated vendetta against the family of P Chidambaram, especially his son, Karti, and all persons even remotely connected to the appellant, including his mother, Nalini.”Karti Chidambaram’s plea
He said that the vendetta is reflective of the "mala fide intention of the central government" and for the past four years the Centre has pursued its vendetta against the appellant by abusing the powers of agencies like the Income Tax department, ED and the CBI, all of which are under its control.
"In the light of the conduct of the central agencies over the past four years, it is submitted that, it is undeniable that they have been acting mala fide and harassing the appellant without any justification," the plea said.
The petition contended that the order and the entire attachment proceedings in the case are “bad in law” and the notice under section 8(4) PMLA is purely a “mala fide” exercise of power to “prejudice” him.
"There is no cause or reason to issue the notice after four months from the date of filing the appeal, except the untenable contents of the notice that the ED is authorised to take the possession of the said premises under section 8(4) of the PMLA," the plea said.
It said the notice amounts to depriving him of his legitimately acquired property, which has no connection whatsoever with the false predicate case registered by the CBI or the instant proceedings by the ED.
At the very least, the ED should provide the grounds for issuance of the said notice at this stage, it said, adding that in the absence of the same, the operation of the notice be stayed.
It said, till date, neither a charge sheet has been filed by the CBI in the alleged offence nor a complaint has been filed by the ED in the proceedings in the PMLA.
Therefore, it said, the notice to deprive him of his property at this stage is wholly misconceived and bad in law.
The INX Media Corruption Case
In May 2017, the ED had lodged an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) - equivalent to a police FIR- against Karti, INX Media, its directors, Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, and a bunch of others under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Based on the ED’s ECIR, the CBI filed an FIR against the accused stating discrepancies in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to INX Media in 2007 with relation to receiving foreign funding of approximately 305 crore rupees when P Chidambaram was the finance minister.
The CBI alleged that Karti had received funds of approximately 10 lakh rupees in the case.
In February 2018, Karti was arrested from the Chennai airport upon his return from the United Kingdom.
Post Karti’s Arrest...
In May 2018, Karti was granted bail. At the time, the CBI had opposed the bail saying that he had already destroyed evidence in the case, reported Business Standard.
Following his arrest, the CBI attached 54 crore worth of assets in October 2018.
In response, Karti said the provisional Attachment order was “not based on law but on crazy conjectures”. He added that the order will not stand judicial scrutiny.
In May 2019, he approached the Supreme Court to remove restrictions on his travel abroad. The SC removed the restrictions soon after.
Karti contested and won the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections from the Sivaganga constituency in Tamil Nadu.
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.