Karti Chidambaram in CBI Custody in Money Laundering Case

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Karti Chidambaram has been placed in CBI custody after he was arrested by police at Chennai airport in a money laundering case. It has been alleged that Karti Chidambaram used his position of influence to get approval for INX Media allowing them increased foreign direct investment from the finance ministry. The said increased foreign direct investment was illegal as it breached the basic condition set by the government.

Facts

INX media is owned by Indrani and Peter Mukherjea. INX Media sought approval of foreign investment from Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for increasing their business outreach of broadcasting, managing, creating, operating various tv channels including Hindi entertainment, multiple vernacular entertainment channels. The company also mentioned their intention to make a downstream financial investment to the extent of 26% of the issued and outstanding equity share capital of M/s. INX News Private Limited. FIPB sanctioned the foreign investment of up to 4.62 crores but did not approve the downward financial investment by INX Media Private Limited in INX News Private Limited. INX Media made a downstream investment of 26% disregarding the directive issued by FIPB and violating the condition of foreign investment.

In a statement given by Indrani and Peter Mukherjee under section 164 of Cr.P.C, it was revealed that they had met with the then Finance Minister P.Chidambaram in 2007. P Chidambaram had told them to see his son who could help them avoid a tax probe and help them in getting excess funding approved. FIR was lodged by CBI in May last year claiming irregularities in clearance issued to INX Media by FIPB for receiving funds up to rupees 305 crores. Moreover, FIR also alleges Karti Chidambaram of receiving 10 lakh rupees through a company owned indirectly by him and for influencing government servants at FIPB and finance ministry to get approval for increased funding. Furthermore, FIR also notes a series of invoices amounting to a total of rupees 3.5 crores raised by other companies in which are directly or indirectly owned by Karti Chidambaram.

Karti Chidambaram presented himself for interrogation to CBI when summoned on 23 and 27 August 2017. He further appeared in front of CBI on 18 January under protest. He refused to visit Enforcement Directorate(ED) on 2nd February citing that his interlocutory application is pending before the Apex Court.

CBI conducted extensive raids on the property owned by Karti Chidambaram on 28 February and arrested him on 1 March 2017 in Chennai from where he was transferred to CBI custody in New Delhi. CA handling Karti Chidambaram’s finances is under the custody of ED.

Charges

  1. Can the owners of INX Media and Karti Chidambaram be held liable for criminal conspiracy?
  2. Does act of Karti Chidambaram amounts to money laundering?

CBI questioned him for 5 days and on 6th March, the court extended his custody by 3 days. Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram may also be questioned as the case progresses. ED has registered a case of money laundering against junior Chidambaram. Supreme Court transferred his application for canceling summons issued to him by ED to Delhi High Court. On 9th March Delhi, High Court granted him immunity from arrest by ED till 20th March and enhanced his custody with CBI for 3 more days. Moreover, the court also added that Karti Chidambaram cannot be arrested by ED till next date of hearing even if he is granted bail in corruption case lodged against him by CBI. Karti Chidambaram says that all this is nothing but just political vendetta.  Congress spokesperson is of the view is that this is a classic tactic of BJP to divert the nation’s attention from PNB scam which happened under BJP’s rule.

Learning Of The Case

A statement under section 164 of Criminal Procedure Code is admissible as evidence.

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