He filed an affidavit in the face of allegations by ASG Tushar Mehta that he had multiple undisclosed bank accounts and properties abroad. Karti stood by his father’s statement that if there was any other property, the government was free to take over it.
Karti Chidambaram, son of former finance minister P Chidambaram, on Monday rubbished claims by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate and informed the Supreme Court that he and his family had two bank accounts and a lone property in the UK.
Karti is being probed in connection with alleged irregular FIPB approval for foreign investment in INX Media in 2007 when his father was finance minister. A lookout notice prevents him from going abroad. He filed an affidavit to “put the record straight” in the face of allegations by additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta that he had multiple undisclosed bank accounts and properties abroad.
“My family has only one overseas property, which was acquired by transfer of funds through nationalised banks in India under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) of the Reserve Bank of India by following due procedure. This asset is recorded in our books of account and is reflected in our statutory filings (including those before the income tax authorities of India). I categorically state that my family has no other overseas property,” Karti said and stood by his father’s statement that if there was any other property, the government was free to take over it.
Seeking permission to go to the UK from October 19 till November 13 to arrange for his daughter’s admission in Cambridge University for the 2018-19 academic year, Karti said during his last visit to the UK, he had conducted banking activities relating to his main account and a sub-account in Metro Bank. He said he had been classified as a politically exposed person (PEP) for banking purposes abroad and was subjected to enhanced Know Your Customer (KYC) norms.
“The UK has very strict laws governing PEPs in terms of opening of bank accounts. I had opened the account in Metro Bank in the UK only on June 1, 2016 and a linked subaccount was opened in November 2016 by the very same bank. I have never held any bank account abroad prior to June 1, 2016, barring the time when I was a student in the US and the UK between 1989 and 1995,” the 45-year-old said.
“All the remittances to this account in the UK and another linked sub-account that was maintained in the same bank are only from my (and my wife’s and my daughter’s) disclosed bank accounts in India. The transfers were effected under LRS of RBI through nationalised banks and were made scrupulously following the laws and rules of the country,” Karti said.
“The said accounts in the UK have never received any inward remittances from any other source, other than funds transferred by my wife, daughter and me, from nationalised banks in India,” he said.
However, Metro Bank unilaterally de-operationalised the accounts on June 7 this year (a year after it was opened), he admitted. The allegation by authorities that he had been closing foreign bank accounts was nothing but innuendo aimed at “tarnishing my name and reputation in public domain”, he said.
“I have reasons to believe that it was the publicity generated by the mala fide actions of the CBI itself (or through its sister enforcement agencies) over the years that was responsible for the bank’s decision to close my accounts, process for which began in March 2017 much prior to registration of FIR (in FIPB case),” he said.