The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday registered a money laundering case against former Union minister P Chidambaram’s son, Karti, and INX Media for alleged irregularities in Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB)’s approval for the company to get foreign direct investment (FDI).
The Indian Express had on Thursday reported that ED will file an enforcement case information report (equivalent to an FIR). The ED registered the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on the basis of a corruption case the CBI had filed on Monday against Karti and the INX group. It will now identify proceeds of crime earned through alleged corrupt means and attach assets equivalent to that.
Karti had on Tuesday denied any wrongdoing. “I am being targeted politically and personally to besmirch the name of my father. They have not seized any documents and cannot prove any charges against me. I have not done anything wrong.”
P Chidambaram had called it an attempt to muzzle him. “The government’s aim is to silence my voice and stop me from writing, as it has tried to do in the cases of leaders of opposition parties, journalists, columnists, NGOs and civil society organisations. All I will say is I shall continue to speak and write.”
The CBI had registered the case on ED’s reference. The ED, which is investigating a company associated with Karti in connection with the Aircel Maxis deal and FDI inflow into Vasan Healthcare, had found documents related to the INX Media FDI inflow during searches. The documents allegedly showed that Advantage Strategic Consulting, a company that CBI claims Karti indirectly controls, was paid Rs 10 lakh as consultancy fees to help it get FIPB approval in 2008 when P Chidambaram was the Union finance minister. The CBI had on Tuesday raided premises linked to Karti and the residence of Peter Mukerjea and Indrani Mukerjea among 14 locations in Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi NCR.
The CBI FIR alleged that FIPB had initially flagged INX’s FDI inflow for irregularities and had sought clarification from the media house. It adds that FIPB approved its fresh proposal “by virtue of influence exercised over them by Karti P Chidambaram” after roping in a Karti-owned company for consultancy.
The CBI has alleged that the officials “not only ignored the serious illegality on the part of M/S INX Media but also embarked on showing undue favour to INX Group by abusing their official position”. It has alleged that Karti got Rs 10 lakh through Advantage Strategic Consulting, “which was controlled by him (Karti) indirectly” in return of the services.