NEW DELHI: On a day when a Delhi court extended Karti Chidambaram’s police custody, it emerged that the CBI will soon question his father and powerful UPA finance minister P Chidambaram as well in connection with the INX Media bribery case.
The designated court allowed custodial interrogation of Karti by the CBI for five days to unearth the larger conspiracy and wrap up the probe.
“Former finance minister P Chidambaram will be summoned to the agency headquarters here and questioned soon. Although he is not named as an accused, his role in the grant of irregular FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) clearance to INX Media is part of the FIR,” a senior CBI official supervising the probe said.
Chidambaram’s name figured in a statement by INX directors Peter Mukerjea and his wife Indrani. Since the statement was recorded by the CBI before a magistrate under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, it can be treated as evidence.
The Mukerjeas said when they met Chidambaram at North Block in 2007 seeking a favour to regularise their illegal downstream investment of Rs 305 crore in INX News, the then finance minister asked them to “help the business of his son Karti, and to make foreign remittances for this purpose”.
Their meeting with Karti happened at a five-star hotel here, where he sought $1 million and helpfully suggested the names of two companies, one owned by him — Chess Management — and the other where he has indirect control — Advantage Strategic Consulting (P) Ltd (ASCPL) — for parking the slush money.
In all, the Mukerjeas claim to have paid Karti $7 lakh abroad. Four invoices adding up to about $7 lakh drawn by the ASCPL, its Singapore subsidiary, another associate company (Northstar Software Solutions Pvt Ltd) and Geben Trading Ltd were recovered from the hard discs of the computers of Karti’s chartered accountant Bhaskararaman, the CBI claimed. Bhaskararaman is currently under the Enforcement Directorate’s custody.
The Mukerjeas, facing trial for the murder of daughter Sheena Bora, recorded their statement on February 5 and 6 in Delhi.
Judge sees merit in CBI request
“I am of the view that the police custody of accused Karti Chidambaram is necessary to confront the accused with documents, co-accused and to unearth the larger conspiracy. He is remanded in five-day police custody,” Special Judge Sunil Rana said
Money trail abroad
The CBI has found the payment of 7 million into Karti’s accounts in Spain and Greece, sources said. It had also seized three mobile phones during searches at his premises last year
Parents ease nerves
Karti appeared more relaxed than on Wednesday when he was arrested, perhaps because of the presence of his parents