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Modi 2.0 government asserts its commitment to uproot corruption from India, warns the ‘high and mighty’

The ED has filed a charge sheet against arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari, who remains a fugitive. It has also sought an unbailable warrant against Bhandari to proceed with extradition efforts. CC Thampi, another person linked with Bhandari, Robert Vadra and their alleged money laundering network, was arrested by the ED last year.

The Modi government recently completed the first year of its second term, known popularly as Modi 2.0. PM Modi, in his address to the people of India, had reiterated his promise for his government’s commitment for a stronger, healthier and corruption-free India.

Chargesheet against P Chidambaram and his son

In a significant development, the Enforcement Directorate has filed a chargesheet against former Union minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram. As per reports, the chargesheet was filed in the court of special CBI judge Ajay Kumar.

The chargesheet names both Chidambaram and his son Karti as beneficial owners of several shell firms incorporated both in the country and abroad. The Chidambaram duo is facing charges of financial misappropriations and violations regarding the FIPB approval given to INX Media during P Chidambaram’s tenure as India’s finance minister.

It is also notable here that the former union minister, considered ‘untouchable’ for a long time, was arrested by the CBI last year and had spent over 106 days in custody before managing to get released under strict bail conditions.

The INX Media case

P Chidambaram is accused in the INX Media scam which involves charges of bribery and lobbying in granting foreign investments worth over Rs 300 crores to INX Media. INX Media, later known as NewsX, was owned by Peter and Indrani Mukherjee of the sensational Sheena Bora murder case. Chidambaram is accused of misusing his power as the finance minister to grant INX Media an FIPB clearance.

Chargesheet against defence lobbyist Sanjay Bhandari

The crackdown on defence lobbyists and the unearthing of the massive procurement scams done under the UPA was another highlight of the Modi 1.0 government. With extradition of a number of major players involved in the defence dealings, the extent of corruption and international play involved was exposed.

Defence lobbyist Sanjay Bhandari remains a fugitive. However, during the past couple of years, the extent of his dealings with several international defence firms and their extensive roots of corruption, bribery and quid-pro-quo arrangements with a number of politicians and key players have emerged.

Bhandari was under investigation since 2010 in the charges of wrongly influencing defence deals. In May 2016, his offices were raided by the Income Tax Department as part of an investigation in a tax evasion case against Bhandari and his company. During the raids, confidential defence ministry documents were found in his possession, which included documents related to India’s proposal to buy mid-air refuellers.

The charge sheet filed on Monday reportedly details how the arms dealer invested the proceeds of his crime. The ED has also sought a non-bailable warrant against Bhandari to enable it to file an extradition request. An Interpol red-notice is already there against Bhandari.

It is notable here that Bhandari also reportedly had links with Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra. It was accused that Bhandari had helped Vadra launder money through properties in London. Bhandari is also being probed by the CBI for a Rs 2,895 crores deal for Pilatus basic trainer aircraft. The ED had arrested CC Thampi, for his alleged link with Vadra’s property deals and Bhandari last year.

Tweet by PM Narendra Modi’s website

Interestingly, the official Twitter handle of PM Narendra Modi’s website narendramodi.in shared a recent article about the government commitment to continue its war against corruption hours after the chargesheets were filed.

Though the article highlighted the action taken against corrupt bureaucrats and the efforts to remove corruption by promoting digital India and incorporating technology to root out middle-men, it also shares some interesting lines.

It wrote, “The high and mighty, who were earlier considered too powerful to be out of the ambit of law, are finding it impossible to escape justice.”

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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