Bad days ahead for corrupt former Finance Minister Chidambaram
The INX Media bribery case got momentum on Thursday after the Special Court allowed the bribe giver co-accused Indrani Mukerjea to be an Approver by revealing all the dirty tales of the main accused, the corrupt, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram. The court also issued a warrant requiring the presence of Indrani on July 11 to go through the relevant documents about her turning an approver in the case and give her consent.
She is currently lodged in Byculla jail, Mumbai, in her daughter Sheena Bora’s murder case. Her husband Peter Mukerjea, the company’s founder, is also in jail in the same case. Special judge Arun Bhardwaj pardoned Indrani Mukerjea, an accused in the INX case, after she submitted that she voluntarily agreed to become an approver in the case.
Meanwhile, three months back, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has sought Sanction for Prosecution against four former officers working in Finance Ministry, for colluding with Chidambaram.
Indrani has already confessed to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that she had given Rs.5 crores bribe to Karti’s firms for getting Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approvals illegally after the directions of the then Finance Minister Chidambaram. It is learned that the agencies have recorded her confessions which exposes the dirty dealings of Chidambaram who pressured Indrani to oblige his other demands apart from bribing money to son Karti. Indrani told investigators that she was forced to oblige to Chidambaram’s all demands as she was facing Income Tax’s prosecution for illegally bringing Rs.305 crores investments in their TV channel INX Media.
INX Media bribery case
In 2007, INX Media TV Channel owners Peter and Indrani got FIPB approval only to bring Rs.5 crores as foreign investment. But they illegally brought in Rs.305 crores and were caught by the Income Tax (IT) in 2008. When they got a notice from the IT department, Indrani and Peter approached the then Finance Minister P Chidambaram. In her confession statement, Indrani said that Chidambaram promised to save her from Income Tax prosecution and recommended that she give Rs.5 crores to Karti. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) found that this bribe money was parked in Karti’s two controversial firms – Advantage Strategic Consulting and Chess Management Services. After getting the bribe, Chidambaram, who headed the FIPB gave an illegal post-facto clearance to INX Media and blocked the Income Tax prosecution for illegally routing Rs.305 crores from tax havens.
The INX media bribery case was unearthed after ED’s Investigating Officer Rajeshwar Singh conducted raids at Chidambaram’s home and Karti’s firms in connection with Aircel-Maxis probe in December 2014. The ED and Income Tax joint probe also exposed the illegal assets in 14 countries and 21 foreign bank accounts of the family.
The CBI arrested Karti in February 2018 and sensing danger, Chidambaram rushed to the Delhi High Court and the 2G trial Court to obtain interim protection from arrest. In October 2018, ED had attached Karti’s properties worth more than Rs.54 crores in Delhi, Ooty, London, and Spain.
Meanwhile, three months back, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has sought Sanction for Prosecution against four former officers working in Finance Ministry, for colluding with Chidambaram. The officers found in the investigation to be in conspiracy with Chidambaram in illegally approving the FIPB clearance in 2008 were former NITI Aayog CEO Sindhushree Khullar, former secretary of the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Anup K Pujari and current principal secretary in the Himachal Pradesh government, Prabodh Saxena and a retired Under Secretary Rabindra Prasad. The file is pending at present with the Finance Ministry and CBI is waiting for the approval to charge sheet Chidambaram and son.