In what would have come as a fresh cause of trouble for former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram, former Director of INX Media, Indrani Mukerjea has sought to become an approver in the alleged corruption case in which Karti happens to be her co-accused. Indrani has written to a Patiala House court in Delhi, seeking a grant of pardon as an accused in the alleged corruption in the INX Media case.
The Court had directed last month that she should be produced before it through video conferencing on February 7. She is currently lodged in women’s jail in Byculla in Mumbai facing trial for the murder of her daughter Sheena Bora.
Now, the Court will determine whether Indrani Mukerjea has made this plea under fear, pressure or under the promise of any favour. Going by proper procedure, the Court will seek response of the investigating agency, CBI after which it will decide whether to accept the plea to grant her pardon and make her a prosecution witness. Earlier, Indrani had given a statement before a Magistrate under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 claiming that Karti Chidambaram had demanded $1 million from her and her husband, co-accused, Peter Mukerjea, who had founded INX Media with her.
Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram had come under the scanner of the CBI and the ED last year in connection with the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to INX Media. As stated earlier, the said venture had been co-founded by Indrani Mukerjea and her husband Peter Mukerjea. The alleged irregularities had taken place in 2007 when P. Chidambaram was the Finance Minister under the UPA government. The CBI had registered an FIR into this case on May 15, 2017, against alleged irregularities in the FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when Chidambaram was the Union finance minister. It has also been alleged that Karti Chidambaram received funds to the tune of Rs 10 lakh in the case.
P. Chidambaram seems to be facing trouble from another front as it has been reported that the ED will continue its probe in the INX money laundering case. After the grilling of Karti Chidambaram in the case, the officials will question the father and former UPA Union Minister P Chidambaram on Friday morning. On Thursday, Karti Chidambaram was questioned by ED officials for six hours. He was confronted with statements of accused, witnesses and electronic evidence in the case.
Moreover, Chidambaram had denied the accusations claiming that it was a political vendetta. However, it is clear that the ED is going ahead on a strong footing. Indrani Mukerjea’s turning approver, in this case, is a major development and might prove to be the turning point in the INX Media case. If the court accepts her plea and Mukerjea is made a prosecution witness in the case, then it will be a strong piece of evidence going against the accused.
The investigative agencies have been very promising as far probing corruption cases like INX Media and others are concerned. This is suggestive of the troublesome days that are yet to come for the Congress as well as the duo of Chidambaram and son.