INX Media case: CBI claims Chidambaram ‘misused his official position’, conspired with son

The matter will be taken up for consideration by Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar on October 21. (File)

Hours after the Supreme Court reserved order on former finance minister P Chidambaram's bail plea, the CBI claimed that the minister "misused his official position" in the INX Media money laundering case. The apex court on Friday reserved verdict on the former FM's plea against High Court denying bail in the corruption case.

The investigating agency, which filed chargesheet on Friday, claimed that Chidambaram misused his powers to grant approval to an FDI proposal of INX Media and INX News Private Limited in lieu of "illegal gratification" in India and through offshore payments.

"Investigations revealed that Karti had floated a front company, ASCPL, for receiving illegal payoffs in the guise of various consultancies other fees and payments. INX Media had also made a payment of Rs 9.96 lakh into the account of ASCPL, an illegal payoff without delivering any service," the chargesheet claimed.

It also included the statement of Indrani Mukerjea, "who revealed the role played by then finance minister and his son Karti in according approval to FDI proposal in INX Media and INX News Pvt Ltd in lieu illegal gratification in India and through offshore payments".

"Further this company illegally invested Rs 40.91 crore in its sister concern INX News Pvt Ltd from the received FDI amount without approval from FIPB in violation of provisions of Foreign Exchange Maintenance Act," it added.

"During investigation it was found that Mukerjeas, directors of INX Media Pvt Ltd entered into a criminal conspiracy with the then finance minister Chidambaram and his son Karti, the then director of Chess Management Services Pvt Ltd, and the then public servants of FIPB unit, DEA, for getting the issue settled without any penal action against them and thus caused undue pecuniary advantage to the companies concerned in terms of possible penalty under FEMA," the chargesheet added.

The chargesheet names Chidambaram, his son Karti, and 12 bureaucrats as accused, and adds that all of them had caused loss to the exchequer by committing offences under the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.

Chidambaram, who has spent more than 2 months in CBI and judicial custody after his arrest on August 21, is presently in the custody of Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the same case.

The chargesheet, which was filed just a couple of days before the mandatory 60-day period from the day of arrest of Chidambaram in the corruption case expires on Sunday, failing which he would be entitled for grant of 'default bail' under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).'

The chargesheet was filed before Special Judge Lal Singh since the judge of the court concerned was not available.

The matter will be taken up for consideration by Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar on October 21.

In May 2017, the CBI had registered an FIR, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to the INX group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007. Chidambaram was Union Finance Minister at the time.

On Wednesday, the former minister was arrested from Tihar jail by the ED, which is probing charges of money laundering in the same case. Chidambaram has denied the ED’s claims of bank accounts or properties abroad.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, Mukerjea, who was the former director of INX Media, had turned an approver in the alleged corruption case.

-With PTI inputs