INX Media: The case that put both Chidambaram and his son Karti in trouble
New Delhi, Aug 22: P Chidambaram was arrested last night, amidst high drama in connection with the INX Media case.
His plea to urgently list the matter in the Supreme Court was not granted. The court will now hear the matter on Friday. What is the INX Media case that put both Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram under the lens of the CBI.
In the month of March 2007, the INX Media had approached the finance ministry for issuing 14.98 lakh equity shares and 31.22 lakh convertible non-cumulative redeemable preference shares. The price per share was to be priced at Rs 10 and the same was to be owned by three non-resident investors under the Foreign Direct Investment route.
The financial intelligence unit of the finance ministry however in January 2008 found that there was an anomaly in the money flow into INX Media from three firms based in Mauritius. The case was then sent to the Enforcement Directorate, which probed the fund flow.
The matter was then referred to the Central Bureau of Investigation, following which an FIR was registered and the case in May 2017 and this came to be known as the INX Media case. The ED on the other hand probed the money laundering aspect into this case.
INX Media was owned by Peter Mukerjea and his wife Indrani Mukerjea. Both are currently lodged in jail in connection with the Sheena Bora murder case.
After INX Media made the request the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) under the finance ministry, then headed by P Chidambaram approved the request on May 2007.
INX Media was allowed to receive the foreign funds to the tune of Rs 4.62 crore. The FIPB, however, rejected a request by INX Media for downstream investment of foreign fund in the INX News Pvt Ltd, its subsidiary.
The allegation is that the company received foreign fund to the tune of Rs 305 crore from the three Mauritius based firms in violation of the FIPB order. The CBI alleged that the shares were purchased at Rs 862.31, which is 86 times the face value.
INX Media then engaged Chess Management Service Ltd, which was founded by Karti Chidambaram, the son of former union minister, P Chidambaram. Karti is alleged to have used the influence of his father to INX Media. It was Chidambaram, who suggested that INX Media applies for fresh approval for foreign fund for downstream investment that was already received.
The Enforcement Directorate in its report has claimed that P Chidambaram had told INX Media promoters, Indrani and Peter Mukerjea to help the business of his son Karti. This according to the ED took place when Peter and Indrani met him at his office in North Block in 2007 when he was the union finance minister.
Further, the ED says that the couple admitted to meeting with Karti at the Hotel Hyatt in south Delhi where a demand for the illegal gratification of 1 million US dollars was made.
The ED report cites the statement given by Peter and Indrani in which they said that they had met Chidambaram at his office. He asked us to help the business of his son Karti, the coupled claimed, while also adding that they were asked to make foreign remittances.
Further, the report states that Karti had suggested the names of Chess Management Services Pvt Ltd (CMSPL) and Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt Ltd (ASCPL) for making payments after suggesting that he be given 1 million dollars.
The ED also said that Indrani's statement was recorded by the CBI under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure during which she admitted to having made a payment of 7 lakh US dollars abroad.