NEW DELHI: After knocking every possible court door for months together fearing arrest, Karti Chidambaram, son of former finance minister P Chidambaram, was finally picked up by the CBI in Chennai in connection with a graft case involving INX Media for irregular grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to the media group in 2007.
Karti was arrested soon after his arrival at the Chennai airport on Wednesday morning from London. He was flown to Delhi and produced before a designated court that granted one-day police remand. The agency had sought 15-day police remand of Karti.
“He (Karti) has been evasive in his replies and uncooperative during questioning by the CBI earlier. He has given incorrect statements with respect to evidences collected by the CBI. All these evasions have led to delays in conclusion of investigation,” CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said.
While being taken to Patiala House courts here, Karti told reporters; “It is absolutely a political vendetta. I will be vindicated soon.”
The case against Karti, his firm Chess Management Services (P) Ltd, INX Media (through the then directors Indrani Mukerjea and others), INX News (through then-Director Peter Mukerjea), Advantage Strategic Consulting (P) Ltd (through then Director Padma Vishwanathan) and unknown others was registered on May 15 last year. They were booked for criminal conspiracy and cheating under the Indian Penal Code and relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Karti through his firm Chess Management allegedly helped the INX group escape penalty despite violating the terms of the FIPB approval for FDI inflow.
The INX group had FIPB approval to raise share capital abroad but not a downstream investment, yet it funnelled Rs 305 crore downstream into INX News illegally, the FIR said. When the I-T Department got into play, the INX group approached Karti for help.
Shortly thereafter, the downstream investment was regularised by the ministry and Karti’s firms were paid by INX. It all happened when P Chidambaram was finance minister in UPA I, the FIR pointed out.
“...INX group in its record has clearly mentioned the purpose of payment of `10 lacs to Advantage Consulting (P) Ltd. as towards ‘Management consultancy charges towards FIPB notification and clarification’,” added the FIR.
Probe and after
- August 24 - ED summons two directors of company owned by Karti
- December 1 - Karti’s companies raided by ED
- July 5-ED asks Karti to appear before it
- May 15- CBI alleges discrepancies to the tune of Rs 305 crore in FIPB clearance to INX Media in 2007. Karti booked
- June - Immigration dept issues lookout notice against Karti. Madras HC stays order
- August 24- CBI questions Karti
- September 11 -SC bans him from travelling abroad, later revokes it
- January 28 -Fresh summons issued by ED in the case
- February 16 - Karti’s CA S Bhaskararaman arrested
- February 28 - Karti arrested