After CBI raids, Karti Chidambaram, Mukerjeas’ INX Media to now face ED heat
More trouble seems to be brewing for former Finance minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is set to file a case of money laundering against him and INX Media in connection with alleged irregularities in foreign investment approval for the company in 2007, says a report in The Indian Express.
The ED case will be filed under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Such a case will also open doors for ED to possibly attach assets in the case.
“We have received the CBI FIR and a case of money laundering will soon be registered,” a senior ED official was quoted by The Indian Express as saying.
The move comes after the CBI filed a case of corruption against Karti Chidambaram and INX Media on Monday.
Following the FIR, the CBI had conducted raids at the residences of P Chidambaram and son Karti. A team of CBI officials had carried out raids at 16 locations across Tamil Nadu. Official sources in Delhi said the searches were spread across Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, and Gurugram.
Notably, it was on ED’s request that the case against Karti and INX Media was registered by the CBI. The ED, which is already investigating a company associated with Karti in connection with the Aircel Maxis deal and FDI inflow into Vasan Healthcare, had found documents related to the INX Media FDI inflow during searches.
CBI said in its FIR that INX Media stated in its records that Rs 10 lakh was given to Advantage Strategic Consulting (P) Limited, a firm 'indirectly' owned by Karti, for management consultancy charged towards FIPB notification and clarification.
In its FIR against Karti, CBI has alleged that Rs 3.5 crore was paid by INX Media, a firm then owned by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, to companies directly or indirectly controlled by Karti to influence the FIPB decision.
It was reported yesterday that the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is likely to initiate a probe into the reported irregularities in foreign investment approval for INX Media in 2007.
Reports said that CBDT chairman Sushil Chandra held a meeting with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) hours after the CBI raided Karti’s residence in Chennai, his office in Gurgaon and other places yesterday.
“We received information on Karti some two years ago, we have been investigating the cases. We will act on all information shared by the CBI. We are monitoring the case on a regular basis and can call Karti for questioning as well,” Sushil Kumar was quoted as saying.
Denying any wrongdoing, Karti Chidambaram said yesterday: “I am being targeted politically and personally to besmirch the name of my father. They have not seized any documents and cannot prove any charges against me. I have not done anything wrong.”
Reacting to the raids, P Chidambaram, had said: “The government’s aim is to silence my voice and stop me from writing, as it has tried to do in the cases of leaders of opposition parties, journalists, columnists, NGOs and civil society organisations. All I will say is I shall continue to speak and write.”