INX Media case: ED opposes relief to Karti Chidambaram; top 10 developments

Delhi High Court’s Justice Indermeet Kaur recused herself from hearing Karti Chidambaram’s bail plea in the INX Media corruption case

Karti Chidambaram

The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday approached the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court order that granted relief to Karti Chidambaram, who was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the INX Media corruption case, in the money laundering case registered against him.

The Delhi High Court on March 10 had restrained the central probe agency from arresting Karti Chidambaram till March 20.

Meanwhile, Delhi High Court Justice Indermeet Kaur recused from hearing Karti Chidambaram’s bail plea. The matter has now been referred to another Bench.

Karti Chidambaram, businessman and son of senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, has moved the Delhi High Court seeking bail in connection with the INX media case. The high court will hear his petition on March 13. Currently, Karti has been sent to judicial custody till March 25 in the INX Media Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance case.

On Monday it was reported that the court refused Karti’s plea for a separate cell in the jail in view of threat perception, as during his father’s tenure as Union Home Minister, several terrorists were kept in Tihar jail. The court said that while the social status of the Chidambaram family could not be ignored, Karti could not be treated differently from the other accused persons.

“However, only keeping in view the fact of social status of accused and his father, he cannot be treated differently from other accused persons and cannot be allowed to be kept in separate prison. However, lock up in-charge and jail superintendent are directed to provide and ensure proper security and safety to accused during judicial custody, as per rules,” the court said.

Karti was arrested by the CBI on his return from the United Kingdom in connection with an FIR lodged on May 15 last year. The probe agency alleged irregularities in a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to a media house, INX Media, for receiving funds of about Rs 3.05 billion (Rs 305 crore) from overseas in 2007 when his father was the Union finance minister.

Initially, the CBI had alleged that Karti Chidambaram received Rs 1 million (Rs 10 lakh) as a bribe for facilitating the FIPB clearance to INX Media. It, however, later revised the figure to $1 million (about Rs 6.50 crore at the current exchange rate and Rs 4.50 crore in 2007). The fresh evidence in the case, which triggered Karti’s arrest, was based on a statement by Indrani Mukerjea, former director of INX Media (P) Ltd, who recorded it under Section 164 of the CrPC before a magistrate on February 17.

Here are the top 10 developments around the Karti Chidambaram INX Media corruption case:
1) ED moves SC against HC order giving relief to Karti: The Supreme Court will hear the ED’s plea against the Delhi High Court order on Karti Chidambaram in the money laundering case arising out of the INX Media matter on March 15.
On Tuesday, the Enforcement Directorate approached the apex court against the Delhi High Court order, which had granted relief to Karti Chidambaram.

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Karti Chidambaram in ED dock now, shouts slogans outside court: 10 points

UPA-era finance ministry bureaucrats are reportedly in the Enforcement Directorate’s dock over the alleged INX Media money-laundering case

Karti Chidambaram, INX Media case

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to grant an interim relief to Karti Chidambaram, son of former Union finance minister P Chidambaram, in the so-called INX Media kickback and money-laundering case and listed the matter to be heard again on 8 March.
Karti was seen raising his hands and shouting slogans while entering the Patiala House Court on Tuesday, according to Times Now.

Congress leader Kapil Sibal and senior lawyer appearing for Karti had pleaded to the top court for interim relief in the case.

“We are willing to co-operate in every way and we also did so. I am worried about my arrest,” Sibal told the Top Court
CBI said that it had been able to gather some important information during the custodial interrogation so far, even as the accused had remained evasive while answering routine questions.

The premier investigating agency said that it needed to confront the accused and co-accused and unearth the larger conspiracy involved in the INX Media money-laundering case.

Seeking the extension of Karti Chidambaram’s custody, the CBI said that his presence was needed in order to serve ‘some important & specific purposes connected with the completion of investigation’ in the INX Media case.

Simply put, the apex court has now refused to prevent Karti’s arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), even as his custody with the CBI ends on Tuesday. The CBI, however, told SC that it would seek an extension of Karti Chidambaram’s custody before the trial court in the corruption case.

Karti had been arrested last week for allegedly influencing the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) decisions to favour certain companies during his father P Chidambaram’s tenure as the finance minister. The FIPB has since been scrapped by the Narendra Modi-led present Union government. During its time, it used to be headed by the Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs with representatives from a host of other ministries.

“More skeletons in the United Progressive Alliance governments’ closet” might tumble out as finance ministry officials are reportedly in the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED’s) dock over the INX Media money-laundering case.

Karti is being held up for facilitating Foreign Investment Promotion Board go-ahead of a Rs 3 billion-project for INX Media, including monetary in favour of the company’s directors Peter and Indrani Mukerjea. |Readmore…

INX Media case: CBI arrests Karti Chidambaram

The CBI today arrested Karti Chidambaram, son of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, in connection with its probe in the INX media case, officials here said.

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The Central Bureau of Investigation official said that he was arrested from the Chennai airport after he returned from London. He will be brought to Delhi later in the day.

Meanwhile Congress leader, Randeep Surjewala, lashed out at the Modi government for pursuing vendetta politics. He also said that the Congress will continue to fight for truth.

An FIR filed by the CBI on May 15 last year had 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 is alleged Karti had received funds to the tune of Rs 10 lakh in the case, they said.

The FIR does not mention Chidambaram senior, though it said he cleared the FIPB approval for Rs 4.62 crore Foreign Direct Investment in the firm at an FIPB meeting on May 18, 2007.

The agency is investigating the junior Chidambaram’s role in facilitating the FIPB clearance for INX Media when his father was the Finance Minister.

Karti Chidambaram is alleged to have received Rs 3.5 crore from the Mumbai-based INX Media, now 9X Media, for helping it get the clearance. It was then run by Peter Mukerjea and Indrani Mukerjea.

The ED has also registered a money laundering case.

The CBI is also probing the alleged irregularities in grant of the FIPB clearance to the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006.  | Business standard