October 22, 2019

Special Court Takes Cognizance Of CBI Chargesheet Against Chidambaram, His Son Karti, In INX Media Corruption Case

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


A charge sheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, his son Karti, and 12 others in the INX Media corruption case has been taken cognizance of by the a special court in Delhi.

The charge sheet, filed before Special Judge Lal Singh, named INX Media Pvt Ltd (presently 9X Media Pvt Ltd), INX News Pvt Ltd (presently Direct News), Chennai-based Chess Management Services and Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt Ltd as accused firms.

The CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as the finance minister.

Besides the Chidambarams, the CBI has charged media baron Peter Mukerjea and bureaucrats Sindhushree Khullar, the then additional secretary in finance ministry; Anup K Poojari, former secretary in the ministry of MSME; Prabodh Saxena, principal secretary in the Himachal Pradesh government; and Rabindra Prasad, a former under-secretary rank official.

Two other government officials named are Pradeep Kumar Bagga, the then Officer on Special Duty in the Department of Economic Affairs; and Ajit Dungdung, former section officer of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) unit. Karti’s chartered accountant S Bhaskara Raman has also been charged.

The accused individuals and entities have been charged under several sections pertaining to criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act for causing loss to the government exchequer.

One of the main planks of the CBI case is the allegation of Indrani Mukerjea, co-founder of INX Media that she was asked by Chidambaram to help his son Karti’s business and make “possible overseas remittances” in lieu of regularization of FIPB violations by her media firm.

When she complied, the FIPB file moved swiftly among the bureaucrats involved and clearance was granted soon after, the charge sheet said. It also mentioned that Indrani and her husband Peter had met Chidambaram in his chamber in North Block after submitting the application for foreign direct investment (FDI) approval.

Indrani, who is accused of murdering her daughter, has not been charged as she had turned approver and will be made a prosecution witness.

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