The Chidambaram’s, who were making their accountant S Bhaskarraman scapegoat in the INX Media case to escape themselves, have been explicitly named to be involved in the scam by the Enforcement Directorate.
“The mails and averments reveal that P Chidambaram was involved in the working of companies of Karti P Chidambaram. Apart from his son, he was closely in touch with Bhaskararaman who was managing all the affairs of illegal transactions of Karti P Chidambaram,” the ED claimed in the charge sheet.
“In fact, the direction to help Karti Chidambaram is one of the important steps of the scheme of money laundering devised by P Chidambaram along with his son and close confidants,” the ED alleged in the charge sheet accessed by PTI.
Earlier P Chidambaram and Bhaskarraman were arrested in the case but were granted bail later. Now, on the basis of the charge sheet filed by ED, the special judge MK Nagpal has issued summons against father and son to appear before the court before April 2021.
“I find sufficient material and grounds for proceeding further in the matter against all the ten accused persons named in the complaint, out of which six accused are companies, for commission of offence under Section 3 read with Section 70 of the PMLA, which is punishable under Section 4 of the said Act.” The Judge ordered.
It seems the father and the son would be behind bars very soon in the INX Media case. Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram were 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. 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. Indrani-led INX Media wanted foreign investments in the company to expand its business of a series of television channels in India.
The company approached FIPB to seek approval regarding issuing equity shares to Mauritius-based NRI investors through the FDI route. FIPB approved FDI investment worth just 4.62 crores but INX Media generated investment worth 305 crore rupees “by issuing shares to foreign investors at a premium of more than Rs 800 per share” between August 2007 and May 2008, as per the FIR in the case.
P Chidambaram, who was the then finance minister, met with Indrani and agreed to give ‘retrospective approval’ of downstream investment of more than 300 crore rupees in exchange for 5 crore rupees ‘investment’ in his son’s firm. That’s what sealed P Chidambaram’s fate.
The case was unearthed by ED’s Investigating Officer Rajeshwar Singh when he conducted raids at Chidambaram’s home and his son’s firm in connection with the Aircel-Maxis probe in December 2014. It has been found that the Chidambaram family has illegal assets in 14 countries. ED has already attached the family’s properties worth 54 crore rupees in Delhi, Ooty, Chennai, London and Spain in the INX Media case.
P Chidambaram, who has been enjoying interim protection from March 2018 in the INX Media case, was named “prima facie the kingpin” by Delhi High Court. In a 24 page judgment, the Court said that it’s a case of money laundering worth hundreds of crores.
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. She had become an approver and confessed to bribing by Chidambaram and his son. There has been an attempt to poison Indrani in the jail which, as per the rumour mills, could have been done by Chidambaram’s henchmen. Now the father and son duo would face the law of the land, and, probably, would be behind bars very soon.