The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Tuesday searched the residence of Peter Mukerjea, former owner of INX Media Pvt Ltd (now called 9X Media Pvt Ltd), for alleged criminal misconduct in grant of approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) on the foreign direct investment received by INX Media in 2007. A team of CBI officials visited Mukerjea’s residence in Worli early in the morning and the search continued till 5 pm. Both Peter and his wife Indrani Mukerjea, founders of INX Media, are accused in the sensational Sheena Bora murder case and are lodged in jail in Mumbai.
Another team of CBI officials searched the registered office of 9X Media in Powai in suburban Mumbai. According to sources, the CBI questioned a few top officials of 9X Media during the search. The agency has alleged that INX Media flouted the conditional approval of FIPB and brought in over Rs 305 crore of FDI to the firm against the approved inflow of Rs 4.62 crore. The media firm also made a downstream investment of 26 per cent in its step down subsidiary — INX News — without requisite approval.
The CBI has alleged in its FIR that when the FIPB sought clarification from INX Media after the income tax department began probing the investment, the media firm engaged Karti Chidambaram, promoter director of Chess Management Service (P) Ltd, to “amicably” resolve the issue by “influencing the public servants of the FIPB unit of Ministry of Finance by virtue of his relationship with the then Finance Minister, P.Chidambaram” .
Earlier, the CBI had booked Peter, his wife Indrani and her former husband Sanjeev Khanna for the murder of Indrani’s daughter Sheena Bora in 2012. The three have been charged with sections including murder, criminal conspiracy and destruction of property. The murder came to light only in August 2015, after Indrani’s driver Shyamvar Rai was arrested for possessing an illegal weapon.
During his interrogation, the CBI has claimed, Rai revealed that he had participated in the murder of Bora three years back. He has since been made an approver in the murder case. Peter was arrested as a co-accused in December 2015. The trial began before a special CBI court last month with the beginning of the deposition of a police officer. The next hearing in the case is on May 22.
The CBI is also probing the sale of INX Media as it suspects Peter and Indrani might have siphoned off money out of the proceeds of the sale.