CBI officers will on Tuesday meet INX Media co-founder Indrani Mukerjea, who has turned approver in the alleged corruption case against accused including former Union minister P Chidambaram, “for further investigation”.
A CBI officer sought permission from the special court in Mumbai to meet Indrani in Byculla jail, where she has been lodged since 2015 on charges of murdering her daughter Sheena Bora.
The officer told the court Mukerjea was one of the accused named in the INX case’s FIR. During the probe, Letters of Rogatory (LRs) were sent to foreign countries to look into links in financial transactions made by the accused, the officer said. While seeking extension of custody of Chidambaram, who was arrested on August 21, the CBI had told the Delhi court that there is “prima facie evidence to confront the accused and on the allegations of payment made to accused, LRs have been sent to five countries”. LRs are sent to the authorities concerned outside India for assistance in a probe.
The investigating officer Monday told the court a financial authority from one of the countries has sought clarification before providing assistance. He said for this to be addressed, meeting Indrani “is very much essential”. Indrani had turned approver in July after the Delhi court allowed her plea seeking a grant of pardon for becoming a CBI witness against the other accused.
The CBI says Indrani and her husband, Peter Mukerjea, who were founders and owners of INX Media, had struck a deal to swing approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in their favour with co-accused including Karti, Chidambaram’s son. The CBI claims that Karti, who was a promoter of Chess Management Services Limited, had entered a criminal conspiracy with Indrani and Peter to resolve issues in getting approval from FIPB. It is alleged that the issues were to be resolved “by influencing the public servants of the FIPB unit of the Ministry of Finance by virtue of his relationship with the then Finance Minister (Chidambaram)”.
Special Judge J C Jagdale Monday allowed the CBI plea directing the Byculla jail superintendent to let the investigating officer meet Indrani for three hours Tuesday. After Karti’s arrest last year, the CBI had confronted Karti and Indrani together at Byculla jail. Chidambaram is currently in judicial custody.