The Income Tax report on former Finance Minister P Chidambaram family’s huge illegal assets exposes that two media firms – INX media and Network 18 had in 2008 bribed son Karti Chidambaram for FIPB approvals. INX Media which runs News X TV channel was then controlled by murder accused Peter Mukherjea. Network 18 which runs several TV channels like CNN-IBN and news portals was controlled by Raghav Bahl who now runs Quint website.
While Peter Mukherjea’s INX’s paid cash in several installments, Raghav Bahl’s Network 18 allotted 60 lakh shares of its London company called Artevea Digital UK Limited to Karti’s firm.
According to the report of Income Tax’s Chennai Investigation Unit, released by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, during Peter Mukherjea & Raghav Bahl, these two media organizations in 2008 had money trail and shares allotments to Karti’s company Advantage Strategic Consulting and its linked firms. While Peter Mukherjea’s INX’s paid cash in several installments, Raghav Bahl’s Network 18 allotted 60 lakh shares of its London company called Artevea Digital UK Limited to Karti’s firm.
The Income Tax Department which seized hard disks from Karti’s companies found that Karti got money from these two media organizations as kickback when FIPB approval papers pending with father former Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
On Sept 22, 2008, Karti’s Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited (ASCPL) received Rs.35 Lakhs from INX Media (now known as NewsX TV Channel), which applied for FIPB clearance of 220 million dollars during that period. On the same day, another Rs.60 Lakh was paid from INX Media to Northstar Software Solutions Pvt Ltd. Major shares of this Northstar Software Solutions Pvt Ltd is controlled by CBN Reddy, who is a Benami and Director of ASCPL and its Singapore subsidiary also. On Sept 24, 2008, another tranche of 20,000 Dollars were paid to ASCPL’s Singapore subsidiary by INX Media. The controversial Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited is involved in Aircel-Maxis scam related kickbacks.
All these transactions happened during the time INX Media’s FDI approvals for 220 million dollars were pending with Karti’s father Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
On Sept 26, 2008, ASCPL had a money transaction of 50,000 dollars with Geben Trading Limited in Athens in Greece. This company’s address is 4 Zaf. Matsa Street, 14564 Athens, Greece and is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). The money transactions of ASCPL also point to Geben Trading’s bank account in UBS, Geneva in Switzerland. The emails of banking transaction details were marked to Karti also and documents show about a business takeover of healthcare and rehabilitation centers in Greece. All these transactions happened during the time INX Media’s FDI approvals for 220 million dollars were pending with Karti’s father Finance Minister P Chidambaram. In short, the murder accused Peter and Indrani Mukherjea who sold their INX Media paid around 3 crores rupees to Karti linked firms (including ASCPL) for FIPB clearance.
In August 2008, Karti’s ASCPL’s Singapore company got 60 lakh (6 million) shares in the media firm Network 18’s London-based company Artevea Digital UK Ltd. This deal happened when Network 18 had applied for a series of FIPB clearances when Chidambaram was the Finance Minister. This kickback is expected to be around 25 crores for processing FIPB clearance.
According to the Income Tax Report, on August 18, 2008, Artevea Digital issued share certificates to Advantage’s Singapore subsidiary. One share was valued at a nominal price of .01 GBP and 60 lakh shares were allotted to Karti’s Singapore-based company.
The net worth of the company benefits accrued to shareholders needs to be enquired.
Mohan Mahanka, Raghav Bahl’s partner and promoter of Network 18 is the major promoter of the London company Artevea Digital UK Limited. Mohan Mahanka and Raghav Baal were Chairman and Managing Director of Network 18 Group respectively in 2008.
“The enquiries reveal that Artevea Digital UK Ltd has become insolvent in the year 2011 even though it has a very good running business. The net worth of the company benefits accrued to shareholders needs to be enquired. The nature of these investments, associates of Artevea Digital UK Ltd, the approvals and contracts were given to them needs to be studied in detail in the course of inquiries,” said the Income Tax Report.