ED raids Karti's houses, Chidambaram calls it 'comedy of errors'
New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Saturday searched the houses of former Union Minister P. Chidambaram and his son Karti in Delhi and Chennai in connection with a money laundering case with the senior Congress leader saying he had anticipated the probe agency would "do some drama to cover up their tracks".
The raids were conducted at one location in Delhi and four in Chennai, an ED official said.
The agency on Thursday issued fresh summons to Karti in the money laundering case related to alleged irregularities in getting foreign investment for INX Media in 2007. The ED had registered the case against the former Finance Minister's son in May 2017.
Chidambaram said the raids were a reaction to the notices sent out by the Supreme Court that heard Karti's appeal on Friday. The 46-year-old businessman had questioned the cases filed against him by the probe agencies, including the CBI.
The former minister said he had anticipated his house in Chennai will be searched again. "But in a comedy of errors they came to search the premises in Jor Bagh (in Delhi) and officers told me that they believed Karti is an occupant of this house but he is not. He lives in Chennai.
"I told them he is a resident of Chennai and I am the occupant of this house. In Chennai also they recovered nothing. In fact in the Chennai premises, they have conducted raids three times so far," Chidambaram told reporters in Delhi.
The former Finance Minister said the Supreme Court had issued notices to the ED in the cases filed by Karti on the ground that the agency had no jurisdiction over offences under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
He said he had no objection to their conducting searches because they had warrants but questioned the ED's jurisdiction in the matter.
"The main ground in the cases is that there is no FIR in respect of a scheduled crime registered by any police agency, including the CBI or any other investigating agency. In the absence of a scheduled crime and there are no proceeds of the crime, the ED has no jurisdiction under PMLA.
"The ED has no jurisdiction to investigate (the case) under the PMLA. I recorded that. Obviously they found nothing. They searched bedroom, kitchen. They found nothing. Since they have to justify, they came here.
"They took away papers related to a statement made by the government in 2012-13 in the case and the background papers related to the case. They took away 13 loose sheets of paper. I have recorded that. They are photocopies of the statement made in parliament.
He said the ED officers who searched his house "were polite" and "were quite embarrassed and apologetic" as they found that Karti was not an occupant of the Delhi house.
Chidambaram said since the ED officials had the search warrant he did not raise any objections to the search.
The ED had in December conducted similar searches on the premises of a relative of Karti and others in this case.
Karti is facing a probe for his alleged role in facilitating the FIPB's clearance for Mumbai-based INX Media when his father was the Union Finance Minister.
He is alleged to have received Rs 3.5 crore from INX media, now 9X Media, for helping it get the FIPB clearance.
With IANS inputs