"If the government wishes to target me, they should do so directly, not harass friends of my son who carry on their own businesses and have nothing to do with politics," he said in a statement shortly after reports of IT and ED searches on some premises connected with Karti's friends.

"My family and I are quite prepared to face the malicious onslaught launched by the government," Chidambaram said. The senior Congress leader said he was travelling and he has been informed about searches conducted on certain firms in Chennai allegedly linked to his son.

"We have made it clear, repeatedly, that no member of my family has any equity or economic interest in any of the firms that are being targeted. They are companies that are professionally managed and are capable of answering any questions that may be put to them by the authorities. I condemn the attempt to link them to my son and harass them on that ground," he added.

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