Just when the nation was reeling from the notorious PNB scam booking the billionaire businessmen duo-Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi under Rs 12,000 crore fraud, here comes yet another scam wham from none other the clan of ex finance minister P Chidambaram.
The CBI on Wednesday arrested Karti Chidambaram, the son of former finance minister P Chidambaram at the Chennai airport in connection with the INX media case probe. Karti is accused of taking bribes from the media company and alleged violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
Karti was reportedly returning from London when he was detained at the Chennai airport and later taken to Delhi by the CBI officials for further investigations.
He was arrested on the basis of statement produced by INX media promoters Indrani and Peter Mukerjea who allegedly paid him Rs. 3 crore in bribe.
The Mukerjeas claim that Karti Chidambaram had received illegal kickbacks in exchange for getting approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), to give INX media the nod to accept foreign funds to the tune of Rs. 3,05 billion(305 crore) from abroad.
The CBI has alleged that in March 2007, INX Media violated the norms on which it had been allowed by FIPB to raise 46% equity through share investments.
Against the permission to raise Rs 4.62 crore by issuing shares at face value, the company got in Rs 305 crore by issuing shares at a premium. In addition, it also hoodwinked FIPB to make 26% downstream investment in INX News Private Limited.
Peter and Indrani Mukerjea are currently in custody facing charges of killing their daughter Sheena Bora.
The transaction took place back in 2007, when Karti’s father P Chidambaram was the finance minister in the Congress-led UPA government and in charge of the FIPB, which is the nodal agency responsible for granting foreign funds.
The CBI has detained Karti for two weeks as he has failed to cooperate with the investigation. A special judge Sunil Rana has extended Karti’s custody till 6th March revealing “shocking evidences” during his trip to London. When he was in London he closed bank accounts in which funds were received.
However senior advocate and Congressman Abhishek Manu Singhvi contended that Karti Chidambaram was subjected to a 22 hour investigation and was fully cooperative. He argued that Karti had permission from the Madras High Court to travel abroad and didn’t receive fresh summons on his return.
Singhvi maintained that since the agency doesn’t have any concrete evidence against Karti they are conspiring to arrest him despite following all court summons.
The CBI, however, rubbished the charges and told the court that the accused was not cooperating in the investigation process.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala called this arrest a classic “diversionary tactic” to shift the attention from the recent surge of scams in the country.
Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram also appealed the Supreme Court on plea of harassment borne by his son and his family due the investigative agencies. He argued that his son was being trapped as a “BJP target” and this probe seems nothing more than a “political vendetta.”
The CBI filed an FIR against Karti last May and conducted a string of raids along with the Enforcement Directorate, on the houses and offices owned by the Chidambarams, in perspective of which Karti was questioned several times.
The ED is likely to seek his remand once the CBI ends the interrogation.
Before being presented to Patiala House Courts Karti quipped, “This is vendetta, I’ll be vindicated.”