In what potentially might be big trouble for senior Congress leader P Chidambaram’s son Karti, Indrani Mukerjea the promoter of INX media had allegedly admitted before the Enforcement Directorate to have bribed his firms.
As reported by the Pioneer, Indrani who has been languishing in jail for allegedly murdering her daughter Sheena Bhora, has seen her troubles increased, with her being sent to a 14 day judicial custody in the INX media case. Earlier she was taken into a two day custody by the CBI.
Indrani who is one of the founders of INX media, is in the dock along with her husband Peter (another founder), for violating Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) guidelines while receiving funds from Mauritius. A case in this regard has been registered by the enforcement directorate (ED), under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
As per an FIR filed by the CBI, INX media in 2006 had received FIPB clearances to bring in foreign investment worth Rs 5 crores. But in 2007 it was discovered that the company had decided to illegally bring in Rs 305 crore of investment instead. They as a result got in trouble with the Income Tax authorities.
The Karti Chidambaram angle comes in this matter with the allegation that, after the Income Tax notice arrived, Indrani gave a Rs 5 crore bribe to firms owned by Karti for acquiring “dubious and illegal” post facto FIPB clearances given to INX media by then Finance Minister P Chidambaram. Post facto approval means that approval is given after any project has either begun or completed.
The report claims that Indrani admitted during an interrogation by the ED in December that she had ‘made a deal’ with Karti to get these post facto FIPB clearances required for Rs 305 crores worth of foreign investment. In turn she allegedly arranged to pay the bribe to Karti’s firms Chess Management Services and Advantage Strategic Consulting.
The CBI in its FIR also claims that such a “deceitful and fallacious proposal” was favourably considered by Finance Ministry officials and approved by then Finance Minister. This might potentially signal that the buck might finally stop with P Chidambaram in this matter.
The past few months have seen the law tightening its screws around Karti Chidambaram in this matter.
It was reported that he was grilled for a whopping 11 hours regarding this case in January. It was also found that 63 companies including biggies like Vodafone, Cairn, Aditya Birla Nova, Arcelor-Mittal, Diageo, DLF, Essar, Godrej were clients of his firm Chess Management Services Private Limited.
Besides this Karti is also embroiled in the Aircel-Maxis deal where the ED is investigating various aspects of the FIPB approval given in the deal under anti-money laundering laws.