A Delhi court has taken cognizance of the CBI chargesheet in the INX media case in which the agency has named congress leader and former union minister P Chidambaram, his son Karti and 12 others, including former bureaucrats from the finance ministry.
The chargesheet was filed before the mandatory 60-day period — from the day of arrest of Chidambaram in the alleged corruption case — runs out on October 20.
Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar took cognizance of the chargesheet and has posted the matter for October 24, when Chidambaram’s ED custody will come to an end and he will be produced before the court.
The CBI Monday told the court that INX Media (P) Ltd had received an excess investment to the tune of over Rs 200 crores and there was also downstream investment made by INX Media (P) Ltd to INX News (P) Ltd, without any approvals.
The agency told the court that the IT department, and several people including journalists and former MPs raised this issue, the FIPB officials gave their reply in which they said ““Foreign investment, however, includes equity investment at par, as well as premium, which is regarded as the total FDI inflow” and ““no approval was sought by the company and only their intention to make downstream investment was indicated”.
The agency submitted to the court that due to the above complications, Peter Mukherjea, Indrani Mukherjea met Karti at the Hyatt Regency coffee shop in New Delhi, where Karti promised to sort out the issues and was paid a bribe of 9.9 lakh. “There were several emails which were exchanged between Chess Management Services Ltd, a company which Karti controlled and INX Media after this meeting. Karti’s company had prepared the replies to the IT queries which were sent to INX media, who used the replies in their letter to thr FIPB,” said the counsel for CBI.
The CBI also added, that Bhaskarman, an associate of Karti prepared fake invoices and raised it in the name of M/s Advantage Strategic Counsultancy services towards charging management consultancy fees to M/s INX media (P) Ltd knowing full well that they did not render any consultancy services to M/s INX Media (P) Ltd. The agency has claimed that this was done to gove a legitimate color to illegal gratification received by Karti.
The agency also submitted, “M/s INX Media (P) Limited and M/s. INX News (P) Limited have violated the provisions of FEMA 1999 by making/receiving downstream investment and no punitive action was taken by the concerned officials in pursuance of the criminal conspiracy is also fully substantiated.”
In May 2017, the CBI had registered an FIR alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when Chidambaram was Finance Minister. The ED later lodged a money laundering case in the matter.
Chidambaram denied any wrongdoing, and rejected the charges levelled at him by the two agencies.
Arrested on August 21 by the CBI which is probing alleged corruption in the case, Chidambaram has been in judicial custody since September 5.
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