NEW DELHI/CHENNAI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested S Bhaskararaman, the Chartered Accountant of Karti Chidambaram, in connection with the INX Media money laundering case. He was produced before Special Judge Sunil Rana of a Delhi court. The court remanded him for a five-day custodial interrogation.
Bhaskararaman was arrested from a five-star hotel early on Friday. The ED had sought 14-day custody.
The ED, through its special public prosecutor Nitesh Rana, alleged that Bhaskararaman had failed to appear before it even after issuing of several summons and was not cooperating. Karti’s name had cropped up in the case which relates to Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval granted in 2007 for receipt of funds by INX Media when his father and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram was the Union Finance Minister during the UPA regime.
“During the course of investigation, it was revealed that Bhaskararaman, who is a qualified CA, has been assisting the accused Karti Chidambaram to manage his huge ill-gotten wealth in India and abroad,” claimed the agency and added that statements of various witnesses have been recorded in the case. The agency said the investigation required Bhaskararaman’s presence for collecting vital evidence and information which is within his special knowledge and exclusive domain.
While seeking the remand of the CA, the ED alleged that INX Media had deliberately and in violation of the conditions of the approval made a downstream investment of 26 per cent in the capital of INX News Pvt Ltd. without specific approval of FIPB, which included indirect foreign investment by same foreign investors, and generated Rs 305 crore foreign direct investment in INX Media Pvt Ltd. against the approved foreign inflow of Rs 4.62 crore. To wriggle out of the situation without any punitive action, INX Media entered into a criminal conspiracy with Karti Chidambaram, it claimed.
The counsel of the CA argued that all necessary documents have already been supplied to the ED when Bhaskararaman was summoned. “ED is only harassing the accused.”
Meanwhile, Madras HC permitted him to go abroad subject to certain conditions. The first bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose directed him to submit details of his trip and the places of visit to the CBI. He should not close any of his bank accounts.