Troubles seem to be mounting for both P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram as investigating agencies try to find links between the alleged overseas payments and Karti's benami foreign assets. It is alleged that Karti bought many such properties from the proceeds of the bribe money he received overseas.
In a new revelation, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has a copy of an email that shows Karti owns benami properties in the United Kingdom, reported India Today. The email tracks conversation between Karti's property dealer Lorraine Mooney and one CBN Reddy and was also marked to Karti. The agency says Karti allegedly gave 1000 British pounds to the dealer to maintain his 29 Meade House property in the UK. "I'll need another 1,040 pound to cover expenses until the end of September. I am happy to wait until K's visit in a few weeks if you would prefer to settle up in cash," says the email. As per the report, 29 Meade House is in the name of one SNJ Limited. The ED has also attached the invoice of the ground rent received by Karti's property dealer.
Apart from the INX Media case, the agencies are also probing the Chidambarams' role in several cases including Aircel Maxis, INX Media, Diageo Scotland and Katara Holdings. The ED has also found several shell companies linked to Karti in India and abroad, one of which allegedly received payments from a British Virgin Island-based company, which had surfaced in the Panama Papers as well. This shell firm had an investment worth Rs 300 crore, ED sources told India Today.
"The deposits in these shell companies have been used for meeting personal expenditure of P Chidambaram and Karti Chidambaram, opening and depositing money in more than 2 dozen foreign bank accounts and purchasing several properties in Malaysia, Spain, UK, etc," reads the ED document.
The money was allegedly routed to India in P Chidambaram's granddaughter's name, as all shareholders and directors of a major shell company made their will of transferring entire shareholding to her, and Karti was the executor of the will. Karti has vehemently denied all the allegations. "I don't know about any shell company and the allegations are baseless," he said.
Meanwhile, a special CBI court has ordered the former Union finance minister to remain in the CBI custody till August 26 in connection with the INX Media case. His family and lawyers have been permitted to visit him for 30 minutes every day. The court has also asked the investigating agency to ensure that the personal dignity of the Congress leader is not violated. Following the order, his son Karti Chidambaram said, "I have gone through this myself. This is what we expected. We will see what happens in the Supreme Court on Friday." During the hearing, senior lawyers Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared on behalf of P Chidambaram at the court, while Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared for the CBI.
Edited by Manoj Sharma