NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday grilled Karti Chidambaram for over eight hours in a graft case relating to irregular FIPB approval to INX Media during his father P Chidambaram's tenure as Union Finance Minister in 2007. Karti is alleged to be the beneficiary of a Rs 3.5 crore bribe as quid pro quo from INX Group.
Karti was accompanied by his lawyers during the questioning at the agency headquarters here. He has been again called for questioning on August 28 when other accused persons will also be questioned. Karti might be confronted with the other accused persons during questioning on August 28, sources said.
Karti appeared before the agency early on Wednesday following a directive from the Supreme Court to face CBI questioning. Karti had earlier ducked CBI summons for questioning in the case.
The apex court has already ordered questioning of other accused persons in the case CBN Reddy, Ravi Viswanathan, Mohanan Rajesh and S Bhaskararaman. They will be questioned on August 28. While Mohanan, Rajesh and Bhaskaraman will be questioned at the agency headquarters here, Reddy will be grilled in Chennai, sources said.
The CBI had on May 15 registered a case under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act against Karti, Chess Management Services, INX Media, Advantage Strategic Consulting Services, its director Padma Vishwanathan and others. The agency had subsequently searched the premises of the accused persons and entities.
The accused persons have been booked for criminal conspiracy and cheating under the IPC besides taking gratification by corrupt and illegal means to influence public servants and criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Karti through his firm Chess Management allegedly facilitated the INX group in not paying any penalty despite violating the terms of the FIPB approval for FDI receipts.
The INX Group had on March 13, 2007 approached the FIPB for approval of FDI Investment and downstream investment. The FIPB approved only FDI investment to the tune of Rs 4.62 crore and said a separate FIPB approval to the tune of 26 per cent of the issued and outstanding equity share capital of M/s INX News Pvt Ltd would be required, the FIR alleged.
The FIPB did not grant sanction for downstream investment but the INX Group received downstream investment to the tune of Rs 305 crore illegally by the same investors following which the Investigation Wing of the Income Tax Department launched a probe. At this stage, the INX Group approached Karti for settling the issue and the Media group subsequently did not pay any penalty after its contentions were approved by the Finance Ministry, according to the FIR.
“Shri Karti P Chidambaram was the Promoter Director of M/s Chess Management Services (P) Limited whereas M/s ASCPL was being controlled by him indirectly. Information also disclosed that the invoices for approximately an amount of Rs 3.5 crores were also got raised in favour of M/s INX group in the name of other companies in which Shri Karti P Chidambaram was having sustainable interests either directly or indirectly,” the FIR had alleged.