Trouble seems to be brewing for Former Niti Aayog CEO Sindhushree Khullar, former secretary of Micro, Small and Mediun Enterprises (MSME) Anup K Pujari and several other top bureaucrats as the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has sought sanctions to prosecute them in an alleged case of fraud involving INX media case. The anti-corruption watchdog has also sought approval to prosecute Prabodh Saxena and Rabindra Prasad, who are currently serving as principal secretaries in the Himachal Pradesh government.
Khullar and Pujari have served in the Department of Economic Affairs. Khullar was additional secretary in the DEA from 2004 to 2008, while Pujari served as joint secretary between 2006 and 2010 under then finance minister P Chidambaram. Saxena served as the director of the department between 2008 and 2010, while Prasad also worked at the department during the period under investigation.
The case pertains to alleged irregularities in granting clearance by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to INX media for receiving overseas fund of Rs 305 crore. On May 15, 2017, the CBI filed an FIR against alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance to INX Media for foreign investment in 2007. During this time, P Chidambaram was the finance minister under UPA government .
The FIPB, which functions under the department of economic affairs, at its board meeting in 2007, had recommended the proposal of INX Media Pvt Ltd for the inflow of foreign investment up to Rs 4.6 crore while clearly stating that downstream investment in INX News will require a separate FIPB approval.
However, despite the order, INX Media had made a downstream investment of 26 per cent in the capital of INX News Pvt Ltd without fresh FIPB approval.
P Chidambaram's son Karti is also under probe by the CBI and the ED on showing undue favour to the INX Group by abusing his power. Karti allegedly took money from INX Media and also tried to manipulate a tax probe against the company regarding a case of violation of FIPB conditions to get investments from Mauritius.
(With agency inputs)
Edited by Mansi Jaswal