Court summons P Chidambaram and Karti in INX Media case
A Delhi court on Wednesday summoned former Union minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, his son Karti Chidambaram and eight others on April 7 taking cognizance of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) charge sheet in connection with their alleged role in the INX Media money laundering case.
Special judge MK Nagpal said that there were sufficient grounds to proceed against the accused including Karti’s chartered accountant S S Bhaskararaman, Peter Mukerjea and six firms including INX Media and INX News.
The charge sheet by the ED was filed under section 3 (money laundering) read with section 70 (offences by companies), which is punishable under section 4 (punishment) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
According to the ED’s charge sheet, the first instalment of illegal gratification of ₹3,08,62,044, in furtherance of criminal conspiracy, was allegedly paid by INX Media to M/s Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt Ltd (ASCPL) and two other shell companies beneficially owned or controlled by Karti, namely M/s Kriya FMCG Distributors Pvt Ltd (Kriya) and M/s CBN Placement and Management Centre (CBNPMC) and this amount was paid during the year 2007-08 through the companies named SpanFibre and M/s Satyam Fibre (India) Pvt Ltd (Satyam Fibre).
“Thus, in view of the background and after going through the contents of this complaint and the documents referred to therein and being relied upon in support of the allegations contained in complaint, I find sufficient material and grounds for proceeding further in the matter against all the 10 accused persons named in the complaint, out of which six accused are companies, for commission of offence under section 3 read with section 70 of the PMLA, which is punishable under section 4 of the Act,” the judge said in his order.
The ED’s case arises out of a complaint registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) where it had contended that P Chidambaram had “misused his official position”, in conspiracy with his son Karti and others, in granting approval to a FDI proposal of INX Media and INX News Pvt Ltd in lieu of “illegal gratification” in India and through offshore payments. The CBI registered an FIR on May 15, 2017 alleging irregularities in a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of ₹305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as the Union finance minister. Subsequently, the ED had lodged the money-laundering case.
Both Chidambaram and his son Karti are currently on bail in the case.