Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday rejected allegations that the recent raids and cases filed against former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s son Karti and RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his children were done out of political vendetta, and said investigative agencies work on a rational basis and on the basis of evidence. He also made it clear that the agencies are accountable to courts as the probe has to culminate into a case which is to be decided by courts. Jaitley was answering questions at a media conference when a reporter referred to statements by Chidambaram and Lalu Prasad that the cases instituted against them or their families were to scare them and were part of a political conspiracy. “I am not going into individual cases. Investigative agencies work on the basis of evidence and they have to prove them before courts. So, whether it is based on facts or political vendetta, have to be decided by the court and not by the media and Parliament. Every case has to eventually culminate into a case and that case has to be decided by the court.”
“As far as different agencies are concerned, whether it is CBDT (Central Board of Direct Taxes) or any other agency, they act on a rationale basis only when there is a case to investigate. After all, when they take up a matter they also have a level of accountability and in these matters eventually these matters will be before court.” The premises of two top opposition leaders, Congress’ P. Chidambaram and Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Lalu Prasad, were on May 16 searched by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Income Tax Department officials. Karti Chidambaram has been accused of getting pay-offs for helping a media company get Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance, while the former Bihar Chief Minister was accused of “benami” (proxy) land deals — actions the opposition has denounced as vendetta by the Bharatiya Janata party-led central government.
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The CBI raided the residence of Chidambaram and his son Karti in Nungambakam in Chennai after registering an FIR which has alleged that his son could have benefited to the tune of Rs 3.5 crore for helping in the clearance of an FIPB proposal of media company INX Ltd when his father was at the helm in the North Block. In the other case, the Income Tax Department conducted searches at 22 places in and around Delhi in connection with alleged “benami” property deals allegedly to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore involving Lalu Prasad and his kin. Besides the RJD supremo, the IT raids were also carried out on the premises of party MP P.C. Gupta’s residence as well as several businessmen and real estate agents in Delhi and Haryana’s Gurugram and Rewari.