The arrest of senior Congress leader P Chidambaram in the INX Media case has sent shockwaves through the political class. The Congress, as well as several opposition parties have rallied behind the former finance minister and called the case of money laundering against him nothing but ‘political vendetta’.
The CBI and ED are probing the INX Media case in which the 73-year-old has been accused of being the ‘kingpin’. The case involves alleged irregularities that were found in the clearance granted in 2007 by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to the media group during the tenure of Chidambaram, resulting in the firm receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crores.
P Chidambaram’s name is the latest addition in a lengthy list of high-profile and influential people to have been put behind bars by the CBI. Chidambaram has held several key positions in his political tenure – that of the Union Finance Minister as well as the Minister of Home Affairs.
Here are some of the other political bigwigs that have been incarcerated by the CBI over the years.
Lalu Prasad Yadav: The charismatic 71-year-old former chief minister of Bihar has been convicted in three cases; all of them pertaining to the Rs 900-crore fodder scam. The fodder scam involved siphoning of money from treasuries in Animal Husbandry Department during the early 1990s. He is currently lodged in a Ranchi jail serving a jail term of 14 years.
J Jayalalithaa: A case was filed against the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa by Subramanian Swamy, the then Janata Party chief. He alleged that she had amassed properties worth Rs 66.65 crore during her tenure as Tamil Nadu chief minister from 1991 to 1996, which were disproportionate to her known sources of income.
She was convicted in September 2014, along with her aide Sasikala. Jayalalithaa was sentenced to imprisonment for four years and handed a fine of Rs 100 crore. She was released from Bangalore Central Jail on being granted bail after 21 days.
The AIADMK Chief died in Chennai at the age of 68 in December 2016 after a prolonged illness.
Bangaru Laxman: Born in Andhra Pradesh in the year 1939, Bangaru Laxman was the president of the BJP from 2000 to 2001 and also was the minister of state for railways from between 1999 to 2000.
In 2012 he was found guilty of accepting a bribe of Rs 1 lakh in a fake arms deal case. The former BJP chief took guilty from fake arms dealers and recommended them to the Defence Ministry for a contract of supplying thermal binoculars to the Army.
The minister passed away at the age of 74 in 2014.
A Raja: The 55-year-old DMK leader was the telecom minister in the Congress-led UPA government, when 122 telecom spectrum licences were issued to eight companies in 2008 on a first-come-first-serve basis.
He was arrested on February 2, 2011 and after spending 15 months in Delhi's Tihar jail, he was given bail by the trial court on May 12, 2012 in 2G spectrum scam.
A Raja was acquitted by a special court in 2017.
Kanimozhi: The daughter of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi was jailed for six months from May 21, 2011 to November 28, 2011 in the 2G spectrum allocation scam case. A special court acquitted her in 2017 stating that the prosecution had miserably failed to prove the charges levelled against her.
B S Yediyurappa: The 76-year old Lingayat strongman, who was the chief minister of Karnataka was forced to step down from the post following indictment by then Lokayukta Santosh Hegde in the Bellary illegal mining case.
He was however acquitted in 2016 in the Bellary illegal mining case by a special CBI Court in a corruption case, which found him not guilty in the alleged corruption case involving a bribery amount of Rs 40 crore.
Suresh Kalmadi: Kalmadi was the former president of the Indian Olympic Association and also the chairman of Commonwealth Games 2010. He was arrested by the CBI on charges of cheating, conspiracy and corruption in the award of games-related contracts.
The former minister of state for railways was incarcerated in April 2011, but was released from Delhi's Tihar jail in 2012 after nine months. Following his arrest, he was immediately suspended from the Congress Party.
Amar Singh: The 63-year-old former Samajwadi Party leader has also faced jail time for his alleged involvement in the 2008 cash-for-votes scam of 2008. Singh was chargesheeted by the Delhi Police, denied bail and taken into custody for his involvement in the scam. The former Rajya Sabha MP was sent to 13-day judicial custody to Delhi’s Tihar Jail in September 2011.
S P Tyagi: Former Air Force Chief S P Tyagi, who retired in 2007, was arrested by the CBI in December 2016 for his for his alleged involvement in the Rs 450 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal bribery case.
He holds the dubious distinction of being the first Indian Air Force Chief to be chargesheeted by the CBI in a corruption or a criminal case.