P Chidambaram fumes as ED attaches Karti’s assets

The Asian Age.

India, All India

P. Chidambaram said the ED’s press note on its action against his son was intended to intimidate and silence him.

Karti Chidambaram

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday said that it has attached Karti Chidambaram’s assets worth Rs 1.16 crore in an alleged money-laundering case, inviting an angry response from his father and Congress leader.

P. Chidambaram called the probe agency’s charges “a crazy mixture of falsehoods and conjectures” and said that as and when the attachment order is served, “suitable action will be taken in accordance with law”.

Karti Chidambaram’s assets are being attached as part of an investigation linked to the money-laundering of kickbacks that were allegedly paid when Malaysian firm Maxis Communications bought Indian telecom company Aircel in 2006.

P. Chidambaram said the ED’s press note on its action against his son was intended to intimidate and silence him.

“I will not be intimidated. I have read the press note released by the ED. It cleverly skirts the issue of jurisdiction of the ED when the only charge-sheet filed in the case (Aircel-Maxis) has been quashed by the special judge,” P. Chidambaram said.

The ED has attached movable assets held by ASCPL (Advantage Strat-egic Consulting Private Limited), a firm allegedly linked to Karti Chidamba-ram, and his own movable assets, claiming that he was trying to sell most of his assets and close bank accounts.

“The ED has attached movable assets held by ASCPL (Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited) in the form of fixed deposits to the tune of Rs 26 lakh and movable assets held by Karti Chidambaram in the form of fixed deposits and balance in saving bank account to the tune of Rs 90 lakh,” said the central probe agency said.

The probe agency has alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to the Aircel-Maxis deal while P. Chidambaram was the finance minister.

“The FIPB approval given in the Aircel Maxis case was decided by former finance minister P. Chidambaram exceeding his mandate,” sources said.

“Investigation revealed that a company promoted by Karti Chidambaram allegedly received $2 lakh from Maxis Group in the guise of software consultancy”, sources said.

Last week, the CBI told the Supreme Court that a lookout is required against Karti Chidambaram because he has been using foreign trips to close bank accounts in which he stashed the alleged kickbacks.

While issuing a provisional attachment order against Karti Chidambaram under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the ED said that ASCPL was “controlled” by him through another person, identified as S. Bhaskararaman.

The agency alleged that Karti Chidambaram has “disposed” of a property in Gurgaon, which he had allegedly rented out to a multi national company “to whom foreign direct investment (FDI) approval had been granted in 2013”.

The ED is also probing Karti Chidambaram’s role in another case related to the alleged misuse of foreign investments by INX Media.