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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

CBI gets nod to prosecute official after Manmohan Singh’s barb over Chidambaram

The CBI had this year sought prosecution sanction for five finance ministry bureaucrats in the INX Media group case in which 74-year-old P Chidambaram was arrested.

india Updated: Sep 27, 2019 17:22 IST
Neeraj Chauhan
Neeraj Chauhan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Former finance minister P Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI in the INX Media case last month
Former finance minister P Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI in the INX Media case last month(PTI File Photo )

The Centre has granted sanction to the Central Bureau of Investigation to prosecute former NITI Aayog chief executive officer Sindhushree Khullar in the INX Media case, an official familiar with the developments has confirmed.

Khullar, who was the additional secretary in the finance ministry when the developments related to the INX Media allegedly took place, will be the first bureaucrat to be prosecuted in this case.

P Chidambaram, the former finance minister who was her boss back in 2007-08, has already been arrested in this case.

The approval to prosecute the retired IAS officer comes days after former prime minister Manmohan Singh visited Chidambaram at Tihar jail and questioned why the Congress leader had been arrested when he had approved a “unanimous” recommendation by a dozen officials, including six secretaries to the government.

“If the officers are not at fault, it is beyond our comprehension how the minister who simply approved the recommendation can be accused of committing an offence...,” Singh said.

The CBI had last month confronted Khullar with P Chidambaram when the 74-year-old Congress leader was in their custody. The CBI has declined to divulge the details of that face-to-face meeting to compare their versions of the finance ministry approval to INX Media foreign funding.

The CBI had already decided to charge Khullar earlier this year when it first moved the request for permission to charge her. Khullar, like other public servants, can only be prosecuted after the government’s permission. The CBI has, however, not acted against the six top IAS officers in 2007-08 who were part of the top panel that made the final recommendation to the government.

The CBI’s request for prosecution sanction on January 22 this year had named four bureaucrats: Anup K Poojari (former secretary in the ministry of micro, small and medium industries); Prabodh Saxena (currently principal secretary in the Himachal Pradesh government), Rabindra Prasad (then under secretary) and Ajith Kumar Dung (then section officer).

First Published: Sep 27, 2019 16:41 IST

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