1. As Modi government nears 3 years, CBI, I-T raids shock P Chidambaram, Lalu Yadav: Politics heats up for 2019

As Modi government nears 3 years, CBI, I-T raids shock P Chidambaram, Lalu Yadav: Politics heats up for 2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to complete three years in office on May 26, but politics has already heated up for 2019 General Elections. On Tuesday

By: | New Delhi | Updated: May 16, 2017 2:21 PM
p chidambaram, lalu yadav, new lalu scam, lalu yadav land deal, chidambaram INX Media, peter mukerjea, indrani mukerjea, cbi raids, i-t raid, karti chidambaram CBI raids former union minister P Chidambaram’s residence in Chennai. (ANI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to complete three years in office on May 26, but politics has already heated up for 2019 General Elections. On Tuesday, CBI officials carried out raids on the premises linked to senior Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti in Chennai as well as other locations of the country in connection with alleged favours granted in FIPB clearance to a company in 2007.

In another development, Income Tax officials carried out raids and surveys on around 22 locations in Delhi and nearby areas in connection with the alleged Benami deals worth Rs 1,000 crore linked to RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and others. “People and businessmen connected to the land deal involving Lalu Prasad and his family are being searched. There are allegations of Benami deals worth about Rs 1,000 crore and subsequent tax evasion,” a senior I-T official said.

On Monday, CBI had registered a case regarding the FIPB clearance given to INX Media, run by Indrani Mukerjea and Peter Mukerjea. The firm allegedly received favours in 2007 in the FIPB clearance when Chidambaram was the Finance Minister.

The case was registered against INX Media through its director Indrani Mukerjea, Peter Mukerjea, Karti Chidambaram, one of Karti’s company Chess Management Services and Advantage Strategic Consulting Limited through its Director Padma Vishwanathan. The charges levelled against the accused include criminal conspiracy, cheating and taking gratification by corrupt or illegal means, to influence public servant and criminal misconduct, according to PTI.

The twin raids have, however, heated the political atmosphere of the country and it may have a decisive impact on 2019 General Elections. More so, because most of the Opposition leaders including Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, P Chidambaram, Lalu Yadav, Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav, Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal are either facing some probe or legal cases in courts. The opposition leaders, however, allege that the raids and cases are a part of planned strategy by the Centre against them.

Following the raids on Tuesday, Congress went all out, targeting Modi government and alleging it of systematically targeting Opposition leaders. Following the raids, P Chidambaram was the first leader to take on the Centre.

In a statement, Chidambaram said, “Government by using CBI and other agencies is targeting my son and his friends. The government wants to silence my voice,” he said, adding, “The government wants to stop me from writing as it has tried to with leaders of Opposition parties, journalists, columnists, NGOs and civil society.”

Congress spokesperson Randeep Sujewala dared the Centre, saying, “Neither we nor P Chidambaram is going to be threatened by these warnings (raids).” Several other Congress leaders including Peter Alphonse said the government was targeting Chidambaram to silence his voice. However, countering Congress charges, Union minister Ananth Kumar said, “Only corruption and black money are being targeted.”

Meanwhile, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who is pursuing the case against Chidambaram and his son, has pronounced Congress as the “most corrupt party”. While talking to ANI, Swamy said, “What do you expect Congress to do? Their president and vice-president are facing trial in the National Herald case. The whole country will come to know that it is the most corrupt party in the history of the world.”

Amidst political blame games, the probe agencies are expected to carry out a fair investigation against the accused politicians. But, the raids on Tuesday look set to enrage the entire spectrum of opposition parties against the Centre, and particularly Modi, at a time when the latter is readying to celebrate the third anniversary.

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