Income-Tax (I-T) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials swooped on many firms owned by Karti Chidambaram, son of former finance minister P Chidambaram, for allegedly laundering black money through his firms in the Aircel-Maxis case. Officials raided 12 places, including Karti’s Advantage Strategic Ltd (ED) and Vasan Eye Care (I-I) in Chennai on Tuesday. The raids were conducted under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). ED sources said that Vasan Eye Care had transferred 1.5 lakh shares to Karti’s Advantage Strategic Ltd. Besides, Aircel had paid Rs 26 lakh to Advantage Ltd for consultation. The investigators did not find any records to this effect. Sources say that Advantage is the nodal company with shares in Vasan Eye Care. Investigators are suspecting a transaction of Rs 200 crore between the two companies, which took place around the time when the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) had cleared the Aircel-Maxis merger. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had also alleged that Karti, through his Ausbridge Holdings, where he had 94% equity holdings, controlled Advantage Strategic. Ausbridge had bought 66% stake in Advantage Strategic.In August, the ED had summoned four directors of Advantage Strategic Consulting and Vasan in connection with the Aircel-Maxis money trail probe. Only one director turned up. Later, he, too, evaded summons. According to ED officials, none of the four directors cooperated with investigations.ED sources said that they had posed simple questions to these directors, like the following,:1. Names and addresses of companies, firms and trusts inside and outside India, in which promoters, directors and shareholders of Vasant Health Care Pvt Ltd (VHCPL) held positions from 2007 to 2012.2. Details of those who exited or entered the company between 2007 and 2012, and the number of shares issued, amount paid, and premium, if any.3. Copy of the balance sheet for the same period4. Net worth, profit and loss and dividend paid during these years.5. Details of shares and debentures issued by VHCPL6. Details of deposits received from individuals and companies and loans given from 2007-08 to 2011-12.In May 2012, then Opposition leader in Rajya Sabha, finance minister Arun Jaitley had made a serious charge that a firm (Advantage Strategic Consulting) owned by a family member of P Chidambaram, then home minister, had allegedly made payments to Aircel. This deal came up just before the telecom company had received major investments from Malaysian firm Maxis and the ownership had changed.P Chidambaram claimed that he and his family were being targeted. “If the government wishes to target me, they should do so directly, not harass friends of my son who run their own businesses and have nothing to do with politics,” he said. “My family and I are quite prepared to face the malicious onslaught launched by the government,” he said.Congress leader Manish Tewari alleged “political vendetta” behind the I-T and ED raids on some premises of business associates connected with Congress leader Karti Chidambaram.

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Income-Tax, Enforcement Directorate raid on Karti Chidambaram’s firms