INX Media case: CBI files charge sheet against P Chidambaram, Karti and others

Besides Chidambaram, the chargesheet mentioned 14 others, including his son Karti and former media baron Indrani Mukerjea who later turned an approver in the case.

The Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday filed a charge sheet against senior Congress leader and former Union finance minister P Chidambaram, his son Karti Chidambaram and 12 others in the INX Media case.

The chargesheet alleged that the former finance minister misused his office in giving FIPB (foreign investment promotion board) approval to the INX Media.

The chargesheet was filed in the court of Special CBI Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar, who will hear the matter on Monday.

Reacting to the CBI chargesheet, Karti Chidambaram said that it has been filed only to beat the 60 day deadline of his father’s custody.

“I haven’t read it (the chargesheet). It’s been done only to beat the 60 day deadline of my father’s custody. We will deal with it as per legal procedure and will be vindicated. It is unfortunate that the family, associates and members of the civil service have been pulled into a pure political score settling fight,” Karti told HT.

Officials familiar with the developments said at least four FIPB officials have also been named in the chargesheet but the agency hasn’t disclosed their names as of now.

P Chidambaram is currently in Enforcement Directorate’s custody for money laundering probe in the INX case.

It has been alleged that Indrani Mukerjea and her husband Peter Mukerjea, who owned INX Media met P Chidambaram (when he was the union finance minister) in his North Block office in 2006. Chidambaram, according to statements recorded by Mukerjeas, guided them to his son – Karti and suggested that they help his son in his business.

When they met Karti, according to the statement, he asked them for a bribe of $1 million.

They worked out a plan according to which Mukerjeas engaged Karti’s company Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt Ltd (ASCPL). As part of the alleged quid pro quo, ASCPL and its associated companies around this time raised four invoices for $700,000 (Rs 3.10 crore) on INX Media and were reimbursed. Soon, FIPB, which came under finance ministry, gave its approval to fix the irregularities.

In March 2007, INX Media breached the condition on which it had been allowed by FIPB (foreign investment promotion board) to raise 46% equity through issue of shares, according to a CBI officer. Against the permission to raise Rs 4.62 crore by issuing shares at face value, the company got in Rs 305 crore by issuing shares at a premium.

In addition, it also bypassed FIPB to make 26% downstream investment in INX News Private Limited.

Earlier Karti was arrested in the case.

Chidambarams have denied all allegations against them saying it’s a political case.

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