Why Chidambaram in ED’s custody and CBI custody will be very different
New Delhi, Sep 06: With former union minister, P Chidambaram stating that he is ready to submit himself for interrogation by the Enforcement Directorate, officials in the agency would look to record his statements under a crucial section of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Statements recorded under Section 50 of the PMLA are admissible in court as evidence and this procedure would be crucial for the Enforcement Directorate. In the case of the CBI, statements are recorded under Section 161 of the CrPC and the same does not have evidentiary value and cannot be held against an accused by the prosecution.
The Enforcement Directorate has not indicated as to when it would seek Chidambaram's custody.
We are preparing the ground and will soon seek his custody, an official from the ED informed OneIndia. Currently Chidambaram has been remanded in judicial custody and is lodged at the Tihar jail.
While in the custody of the ED, he would be questioned all through the day and then lodged in a police station. Since he is a Z Category protectee, he will not be lodged in the regular lock up.
While in the lock up of the police station, an ED official would be present to keep a watch over him.
While in CBI custody, Chidambaram was lodged in the CBI headquarters. However in the CBI HQ the lockup is more like a guest house.
The INX Media case, pertains to allegations of bribery by the company's promoters -- Peter and Indrani Mukerjea -- both in jail for allegedly killing Indrani's daughter from an earlier marriage, to get foreign investment clearances.
INX Media, founded in 2006 by media mogul Peter Mukerjea and his wife Indrani, made an application seeking clearance to a foreign investment proposal worth Rs 304 crore on March 13, 2007.
The application was made to the chairman of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) -- an erstwhile inter-ministerial body that was responsible for processing foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals.
Chaired by the economic affairs secretary, the FIPB had other permanent members, including the secretaries of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Commerce, Economic Relations in the ministry of external affairs and overseas Indian affairs.
The company had proposed to get FDI worth Rs 4.62 crore, which was cleared by the FIPB with an approval from the then finance minister Chidambaram, but the company, in violation of the conditions, received Rs 305 crore with a premium of Rs 800 per share.
The investment raised suspicion, prompting the Income Tax (IT) department to issue a communique to the FIPB, demanding a probe in the matter.
The board told the IT department that the matter was verified and also sought clarifications from INX Media.
In order to "wriggle out" of a situation that could have led to punitive action, the company entered into a criminal conspiracy with Karti Chidambaram, the minister's son and the promoter of Chess Management, to get the issue addressed "amicably by influencing" public servants in the FIPB, the CBI has alleged in the FIR.
INX Media was advised by the FIPB to file a fresh application for the downstream investment already made in the company. The request of the IT department to probe the matter was also scuttled, the central agency has alleged.
The finance ministry not only granted fresh proposals, but also "misinformed the investigation" being conducted by the IT department, the CBI has alleged.
It has further alleged that an amount of Rs 10 lakh was paid to Advantage Strategic for management consultancy charges towards the FIPB notification and clarification. The company also generated invoices of Rs 3.5 crore towards INX Media.
According to the CBI, Advantage Strategic is indirectly controlled by Karti, which has been strongly denied by him and his father.