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As the Narendra Modi government completes two years, it is a million dollar question as to why the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) are not acting against the Chidambaram family. Violations and illegalities committed by Chidambaram are clearly mentioned in the CBI’s chargesheet in Aircel Maxis scam. In the chargesheet submitted before the 2G Court in August 2014, CBI had emphatically said that the probes against Chidambaram will be finished soon and CBI counsel on record informed the court that they will soon file a Supplementary Chargesheet on this regard also. On BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s petition, the Supreme Court in October 2014, directed CBI to submit the progress report on the probe. Yet there is no action.
Are there Trojan horses in Modi government protecting the Chidambaram family?
The Apex Court’s direction led to summoning of the former Minister by CBI on December 6, 2014. But what happened later was that the officer, Joint Director Ashok Tewari who summoned Chidambaram was unceremoniously shunted out from the organisation. He is now working as Chairman and Managing Director of State Road Transport Corporation in Himachal Pradesh.
Who is protecting Chidambaram? It is a known fact that Chidambaram and current Finance Minister Arun Jaitley are good friends for the past 26 years. This was revealed by none other Chidambaram, when Jaitley cornered him 2012 in Rajya Sabha during the heated debate on Aircel-Maxis scam. It is an admitted fact that both were buddies in the law profession and may have helped each other out. But then the question is why CBI under Prime Minister Narendra Modi tolerates such connections? It is alleged that in the current Finance Ministry, majority of the top bureaucrats are Chidambaram friendly officers and ED is totally under the Ministry.
Rajeshwar Singh, ED’s Investigating Officer of 2G and Aircel-Maxis scam was shunted out from the organisation during Chidambaram’s tenure in Finance Ministry. On Swamy’s petition in April 2014, Supreme Court had ordered to reinstate him. But it was intriguing that the Finance Ministry which came under Jaitley in mid May 2014, did not obey that order. After Swamy’s fight, the Supreme Court in September 2014 gave stern warning to the Ministry to post him back in ED and ordered that the officer should not be transferred till the end of the trial. During the arguments the then Revenue Department under Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das even allegedly lied in court that the officer’s services were not needed as ED had completed its probe in Aircel-Maxis scam. Shaktikanta Das is said to be a known Chidambaram protégé.
There are still Chidambaram compliant officers in CBI too. Once in a tweet, Swamy accused CBI Director Anil Sinha as “Chidambaram compliant” officer. It is a fact that the same officers’ lobby works in CBI which gave a clean chit to Chidambaram in 2G cases, while fixing all the blame on Telecom Minister A. Raja.
Apart from Aircel-Maxis scam, CBI has not acted against Chidambaram in the Swan-Etisalat approval deal. This comes under 2G case streams and ED had already registered ₹10,000 crore ($1.5 billion) fine slapping notice under FEMA. If FEMA is slapped on a dubious deal, then why is the CBI not imposing Prevention of Corruption of Act against Chidambaram, for approving this questionable deal? Rajeshwar Singh slapped FEMA violations on this deal in 2011 and invited the former Finance Minister’s wrath.
It must be remembered that all these unholy nexus dare to operate when the cases are monitored by Supreme Court. At last the ED and Income Tax conducted raids at Karti Chidambaram linked companies in December 2015. “The Pioneer” had reported the details of the raid and massive wealth amassed by these companies in 14 countries – UK, Dubai, South Africa, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, British Virgin Island, France, USA, Switzerland, Greece and Spain.
All the wealth acquired by Karti linked companies was during the period when father Chidambaram was Finance and Home Minister during 2004 – 2014. The accumulation of such huge wealth is a clear case of launching Disproportionate Assets case against the Chidambaram family for misuse of power. The wealth in these 14 countries would easily cross the value of ₹3000 crore($451 million). According to the affidavits of Chidambaram and his wife Nalini Chidambaram both are having assets of ₹11 crore ($1.65 million) and ₹12 crore ($1.8 million) respectively. This was according to the mandatory affidavit filed by Chidambaram to Prime Minister in 2012. According to the affidavit filed before Election Commission by Karti in April 2014 is that his total assets come to around ₹60 crore($9 million). When this became an issue in Parliament, Jaitley claimed that the government would go deep into the probe and fix the culprit. Now 45 days have passed after Jaitley’s assurance to the Parliament. In Indian Parliament such assurances were made by Ministers in the past also and nothing happened on the ground.
Chidambaram’s wife Nalini Chidambaram was also not new to controversies. Her name was dragged in Saradha Scam and Hasan Ali related money laundering cases. The TV channel owner Manoranjana Singh, who was associated with Nalini in Saradha Scam is facing the music now. She is in jail and chargesheeted. The scamster Chit Fund owner Sudipto Sen had clearly written in his confession letter about how around ₹40 crores ($6 million) were siphoned by Nalini and Manoranjana. Both CBI and ED had questioned Nalini. But yet no action!
In June 2015, Sunday Guardian had exposed the money trails of Nalini with Hasan Ali’s associate Kashinath Tapuria. Nalini’s air tickets were funded by Tapuria in 2009 and 2010 in as many as 16 trips. Chidambaram was the Home Minister then. Is it ethical for a Home Minister’s wife to give legal advice to the biggest money launderer? At the very least ED and CBI should ask this question. These air tickets were found by ED and IT during raids. How small officers can act against Nalini is a different question.
Apart from all these cases, the controversial purchase of more than 40 aircraft for Air India was approved by Chidambaram. He also approved the resale of some of these new airplanes at throwaway prices to Etihad. Till date CBI has not moved an inch on this deal.
It is really intriguing as to why the Modi government is not taking action against their sworn rival Chidambaram. It is a known fact that a coterie including Chidambaram worked overtime against Modi and BJP President Amit Shah to fix them in Gujarat related encounter cases. Then why show leniency to Chidambaram when in power? What compulsions are preventing the Modi Government from letting the law do its job? Are there Trojan horses in Modi government protecting the Chidambaram family? The nation wants to know!
1. The conversion rate used in this article is 1 USD = 66.53 Rupees.
2. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.