The CBI on Saturday “examined” Nalini Chidambaram, wife of former Union finance minister P Chidambaram in connection with the multi-crore Saradha scam. Nalini, who is an advocate, was mentioned in a “tell all” letter by Saradha CMD Sudipta Sen to the CBI.
Confirming the development, a senior CBI official told The Indian Express, “A team of senior officials from our Chennai unit went to Nalini Chidambaram’s office and she was examined.” In his letter, Sen mentioned Nalini as the counsel of former Congress minister Matang Sinh and his estranged wife Manoranjana. Sen had stated that Matang and Manoranjana wanted to sell their company called “Positive Group” to Sen. For settling the deal, they took Sen to Nalini’s chamber in Chennai.
According to Sen’s letter, Nalini “requested” Sen to “support Manoranjana Sinh to set up a TV channel in Guwahati” and further help her “with Rs 42 crore immediately”. The letter said that Nalini was the “sole arbitrator” in the deal and the duration of the consultation period was signed for one and a half years. Sen claimed that she had been given Rs 1 crore for the said period. Sen also alleged that he used to sponsor Nalini’s airfare and her stay at the Taj Bengal hotel in Kolkata. He further claimed that Manoranjana told him that if the Chidambaram family stood by him he would be out of several troubles.
According to The Indian Express report on Sen’s letter, Nalini had denied any involvement in the deal. On Sunday, the CBI sources said that Nalini was examined in connection with Rs 1 crore that was allegedly paid to her by Sen. “We have examined her. She would be giving certain documents to establish her claims she made to our officers. We would verify those documents now,” added the senior official.
A source close to Nalini admitted that a team of CBI officials had approached her Chennai office on Saturday. “They have not questioned her. They merely asked for a 70-page legal advisor note prepared on the proposed acquisition of a TV channel,” he said.
Later Nalini said in a statement in Chennai that she was not questioned by CBI, but “consulted” professionally.
“CBI did not question me. CBI officers wanted to know whether Mrs Manoranjana Sinh had consulted me professionally. I told them yes. I was consulted,” she said.