September 28, 2019

Government Gives CBI Green Signal To Prosecute Former NITI Aayog CEO, Ex-FIPB Member, Others In INX Media Case

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


The government has permitted the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to prosecute top officials in the INX Media case.

It may be recalled that Chidambaram’s counsel Kapil Sibal had argued in court earlier that his client had merely endorsed the FIPB clearance to INX Media after going by the assessments of FIPB officials as well as other bureaucrats.

Sibal had also argued that the government did not prosecute officials who gave FIPB clearance to INX Media but chose to go only after Chidambaram in what appeared to be motivated by political vendetta.

The CBI has been allowed to prosecute former NITI Aayog CEO and the then Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) member Sindhushree Khullar in the INX media case and she was recently confronted with former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram in CBI custody.

Incidentally, Khullar was the then additional secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs who was allegedly instrumental in giving FIPB clearance to INX Media, when it was owned by Peter Mukherjea and his wife Indrani Mukherjea, who are prime suspects in the money laundering and corruption case.

The CBI has also been given the mandate to prosecute Anup K Pujari, a former secretary in the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Department; Prabodh Saxena, principal secretary in Himachal Pradesh and Rabindra Prasad, the then undersecretary.

The latest development came after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who appeared for the CBI stated that certain evidences relating to an alleged meeting between the Chidambarams and the Mukerjeas have been destroyed.

The Solicitor General told the court that the visitors’ log for the day when P Chidambaram met Indrani Mukerjea, who turned approver in the INX Media case, is missing and appeared destroyed.

Mehta told the court that though the visitors’ log appears to have been destroyed, it has collected evidence from Hotel Oberoi, which corroborates that Indrani Mukerjea and her husband Peter Mukerjea used the hotel’s vehicle to visit P Chidambaram.

Countering the claim, Chidambaram’s counsel Kapil Sibal had told the high court that the former finance minister has “no recollection of meeting Indrani Mukerjea” and that “hundreds of delegations call on the finance minister”.

The Delhi High Court, after hearing detailed arguments of both parties, has reserved its order on Chidambaram’s bail plea.

Presently, Chidambaram is currently lodged in New Delhi’s Tihar Jail since August 21 after the CBI arrested him from his Delhi residence.

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