ED grills Karti Chidambaram for 11 hours in INX Media money laundering case
Karti Chidambaram was questioned for about 11 hours by officials of the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the INX Media money laundering case.
New Delhi: Karti Chidambaram, the son of senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, was questioned for about 11 hours on Thursday by officials of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the INX Media money laundering case.
Karti Chidambaram was summoned by the agency to appear before the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case. Official sources said Karti Chidambaram was asked a number of questions on his role in the case and his statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). He arrived at the ED office here around 11.30 am and left after 10.30 pm.
"Whatever I stated here (in the ED) has been clearly stated in my petitions in the court (in this case). It has been a long day but there were questions which had to be typed, so it took a little long time," Karti Chidambaram told reporters after he came out of the ED office.
He has moved various courts including the Madras High Court and the Supreme Court in response to the ED's action against him. Karti Chidambaram's authorised representative had met the IO of the case on the last two occasions and the central probe agency had then asked him to appear in person.
The central probe agency had registered a case against him and others in May 2017.
It had registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), the ED's equivalent of a police FIR, against the accused named in a CBI complaint, including Karti Chidambaram, INX Media and its directors, Peter and Indrani Mukerjea. The ECIR was lodged under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The sources said that the ED is probing the alleged "proceeds of crime" generated in this case.
It was the ED which had provided information about the alleged illegal payments made by INX Media, based on which the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had filed its FIR.
The CBI had also carried out searches at the homes and offices of Karti Chidambaram across four cities for allegedly receiving money from the media firm owned by the Mukerjeas to scuttle a tax probe. The Chidambarams have denied all the charges made against them.
The CBI had filed the FIR against Karti Chidambaram and the Mukerjeas on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, receiving illegal gratification, influencing public servants and criminal misconduct. The agency has alleged that Karti Chidambaram received money from INX Media for using his influence to manipulate a tax probe against it in a case of violation of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) conditions to receive investment from Mauritius.
The CBI has said it has also recovered vouchers of Rs 10 lakh which were allegedly paid for the services. These vouchers were issued in favour of Advantage Strategic Consulting (P) Limited, a firm "indirectly" owned by Karti, the CBI had alleged.
Former finance minister Chidambaram, after the CBI searches on 16 May, had issued a strong statement in response to the raids, saying the government was using the CBI and other agencies to target his son.
The FIPB approval was granted in "hundreds of cases", the senior Congress leader had said.
The CBI FIR was made out against Karti Chidambaram, his company Chess Management Services, the Mukerjeas (currently in jail on charges of murder of their daughter Sheena Bora), INX Media, Advantage Strategic Consulting Services and its director Padma Vishwanathan.
Last week, the ED had also searched the premises of Karti Chidambaram and those associated with him in a separate money laundering case pertaining to the Aircel-Maxis deal.
SC rejects EC's plea to expunge Madras HC remarks, says citizens have a right to know what transpires in courts
The top court said it is a staunch proponent of freedom of media to report court proceedings and that the EC's contention that press should be reporting orders only and not observations struck at principles of open court
EC says it is ‘unanimous’ there shouldn’t be plea in SC for curbs on media reporting over oral observations made by judges
The Election Commission had approached the top court with a Special Leave Petition against oral observations made by the Madras HC, where it said the EC was 'singularly responsible' for the second wave of COVID-19 and remarked that its officers should probably be 'booked for murder'