NEW DELHI: A special court on Monday took cognisance of the CBI chargesheet filed against former Union finance minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram, his son Karti, and 12 others in the INX Media corruption case. The CBI had filed the chargesheet on Friday.
Chidambaram, who is currently being interrogated on charges of money laundering in this case, will be produced in court on October 24. The other accused persons, including Karti, have been directed to appear before the court as accused on November 29.
Besides the Chidambarams, the CBI has charged media baron Peter Mukerjea and bureaucrats Sindhushree Khullar, the then additional secretary in finance ministry; Anup K Poojari, former secretary in the ministry of MSME; Prabodh Saxena, principal secretary in the Himachal Pradesh government; and Rabindra Prasad, a former under-secretary rank official.
Two other government officials named are Pradeep Kumar Bagga, the then OSD in the department of economic affairs; and Ajit Dungdung, former section officer of the FIPB unit. Karti’s chartered accountant S Bhaskararaman has also been charged.
One of the main planks of the CBI case is the allegation of Indrani Mukerjea , co-founder of INX Media, that she was asked by Chidambaram to help with Karti’s business and make “possible overseas remittances” in lieu of regularisation of FIPB violations by her media firm. When she complied, the FIPB file moved swiftly among the bureaucrats involved and clearance was granted soon after, the chargesheet said. It also mentioned that Indrani and her husband Peter had met Chidambaram in his chamber in North Block after submitting the application for FDI approval.
Indrani, who is accused of murdering her daughter, has not been charged as she had turned approver and will be made a prosecution witness.
The accused individuals and entities have been charged under several sections pertaining to criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act for causing loss to the government exchequer. They were allegedly involved in processing the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance of INX Media.
The chargesheet, filed before special judge Lal Singh, named INX Media Pvt Ltd (presently 9X Media Pvt Ltd), INX News Pvt Ltd (presently Direct News), Chennai-based Chess Management Services and Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt Ltd as accused firms.
The CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as the finance minister.