Indrani approver in INX Media case
A Delhi court on Thursday allowed the former director of INX Media Indrani Mukerjea to turn approver in the INX media case, involving former Union minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram. In her application to turn approver, Mukherjea had prayed for ‘pardon’ in the case in exchange of full and true disclosure. The court listed the matter for July 11 when Mukerjea would be brought to Delhi from Mumbai’s Byculla Jail where she is lodged as a prime accused in the murder of her daughter Sheena Bora.
The INX media case pertains to the alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance at a time when P Chidambaram was the Union finance minister.
Mukerjea founded INX Media with her ex-husband Peter Mukerjea in 2007. The Mukerjeas have been charged with entering into a criminal conspiracy with Karti Chidambaram, whose father P Chidambaram was the then finance minister, to get foreign investments and evade punitive measures for not having the necessary approvals from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). In March 2018, Mukerjea told the CBI in a statement recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC, that a deal of $1 million was struck between Karti Chidambaram and the Mukerjeas to secure approval from the FIPB in favour of INX Media.
In response to the court’s order on Thursday, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, the main senior counsel for the Chidambarams, said, “ This is a legal process, which requires no comment at this stage. However, all rights of the accused in this regard remain open.” The former finance minister declined to comment.
Mukerjea was earlier produced before special CBI judge Anurag Sain after being brought from Mumbai’s Byculla Jail on May 23 where she recorded the statement and confirmed she was doing it voluntarily. But the matter was transferred to special judge Arun Bhardwaj after the Lok Sabha election results as Karti Chidambaram had been elected as a parliamentarian. The court of judge Bhardwaj is a special sessions court constituted to deal with matters of sitting MPs and MLAs. The application has been pending before the trial court since December 21, 2018.
The Central Bureau of Investigation had earlier informed the court that it supports the approver application moved by Indrani Mukerjea saying that “there is no person privy to those conversations other than her”.
The CBI had arrested Karti Chidambaram in this connection in February last year and was released on bail in March. Karti has denied the charges of receiving bribes from the Mukerjeas.
The CBI had registered an FIR in the case on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to the media group for receiving overseas funds to the tune of ₹305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as Union finance minister.
Thereafter, the ED lodged a money laundering case against the company founders Peter Mukerjea, his wife Indrani, and others under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
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