Nearly 50 places around the country were raided today as part of investigations including two senior opposition leaders, P Chidambaram and Lalu Yadav. “The day of reckoning has come for many…they all will be accountable” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, as opposition leaders said the government is being heavy-handed about framing its opponents.
The home in Chennai of Mr Chidambaram, who was Finance Minister in the previous government headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was searched as part of an investigation into alleged criminal misconduct based on approvals of foreign investment deals. The country’s top investigating agency, the CBI, says that Mr Chidambaram’s son, Karti Chidambaram, was given kickbacks amounting to 3.5 crores in exchange for the minister allowing INX Media Private Ltd to break foreign investment laws in 2007-2008.
INX Media, later renamed 9X Media Private Limited, was owned at the time by Indrani and Peter Mukerjea, who have been jailed for the murder of Sheena Bora, who was Ms Mukerjea’s daughter from an earlier relationship.
Mr Chidambaram said that neither he nor Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) officials were suspected of wrongdoing in the hundreds of cases it had reviewed while he was in office. Karti Chidambaram, addressing a media scrum outside his home in Chennai, said there was no evidence to back the claims against him, adding they were politically motivated.
In Lalu Yadav’s case, nearly 100 tax officials and policemen raided properties including in Delhi and Gurgaon that are allegedly proxy owned by the politician and his children and are worth 1,000 crores.
“People in high position acquiring assets through shell companies is not a small matter,” said the Finance Minister.
Lalu, as supporters call him, demonstrated his famous quippy self by tweeting, “Ha ha. My name is Lalu & I pity 4 such intimidators” (sic). He said the BJP wants to not just punish him for his criticism of the government but also force the cancellation of a rally he has called in August that is to be attended by a series of the party’s opponents including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
In recent weeks, the BJP has furnished documents at press conferences in Bihar that it says outs the rampant corruption in Lalu’s family. Lalu, 68, cannot hold public office because he has been convicted of corruption in a case based on his term as Bihar Chief Minister in the 90s. His sons, Tejashwi and Tej Pratap, are ministers in the coalition government of Bihar.
The Yadavs have said that the property they are accused o