In a big setback for former finance minister P Chidambaram, the CBI has named him in a chargesheet filed in the INX Media case. The CBI chargehseet has named 13 other people, including Karti Chidambaram, INX Media's Peter Mukherjea, government officials, INX Media and INX News.
A Delhi special court yesterday sent him to custody under ED till October 24 in the same case. The probe agency had sought 14 days of custody of the former FM. The ED arrested him after interrogation in Tihar jail on Wednesday where he has been lodged since September 5.
"CBI had registered a case on May 15, 2017, on the allegations that a Mumbai-based media company had received foreign investment to the tune of Rs 403.07 crore against the approved FDI amount of Rs 4.62 crore. Further, this company had also illegally invested Rs 40.91 crore in its sister concern from the FDI amount received without approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in violation of provisions of FEMA," the probe agency said in a statement.
"During investigation, it was found that two then directors of Mumbai-based private media company allegedly entered into a criminal conspiracy with the then Finance Minister (P Chidambaram), his son (Karti Chidambaram), and certain then public servants of FIPB Unit for getting the said issues settled without any penal action against them and thereby caused undue pecuniary advantage to the companies in terms of possible fiscal penalty under FEMA, which could have been upto three times of the total amount involved," it further said.
The CBI further claimed that the then director of the management services company had allegedly floated a front company for receiving illegal pay offs in the guise of various consultancies, other fees and payments. The Mumbai-based media company had also made an alleged payment of Rs 9.96 lakh into the account of the said front company as illegal pay off without delivering any service.
"During investigation, one of the Directors of the said media company based at Mumbai turned approver and revealed the alleged role played by the then Finance Minister and his son in according approval to the FDI proposal in the Mumbai based media company and another news company also based at Mumbai, in lieu of alleged illegal gratification in India and through offshore payments," CBI said.
Letters Rogatory have been sent to Singapore, Mauritius, Bermuda, the United Kingdom and Switzerland to investigate the alleged off-shore payment
Shortly after his arrest, the ED had filed a plea before special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar seeking a 14-day custodial interrogation of the 74-year-old Congress leader.
Meanwhile, Chidambaram, through his latest tweet posted by his family, slammed the government over the ongoing economic slowdown. He said imports and exports were down, and bank credit had declined, which he said meant thousands of jobs were lost every month and there was no new investment.
I have asked my family to tweet the following on my behalf:— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) October 17, 2019
Two more economic indicators for you to draw your own conclusions-
1. Imports are down by 13.9%, exports are down by 6.6%. Meaning, thousands of jobs are lost every month.
The former finance minister said he had asked his family to tweet, giving two more economic indicators for the people to draw their own conclusions. "Imports are down by 13.9%, exports are down by 6.6%. Meaning, thousands of jobs are lost every month. 2. Bank credit declines by Rs. 80,000 crore in five months between March and August 2019. Meaning, there is practically no new investment," he said in the tweets.
Edited by Manoj Sharma