Karti Chidambaram arrested: CBI alleges that he used various means to influence INX Group's FIPB approval
The CBI alleged that after INX Media letter, the concerned officers and FIPB unit of the Ministry of Finance, by virtue of the influence exercised over them by Karti, not only ignored the serious illegality on the part of INX Media on both the counts, but also deliberately embarked on showing undue favour to the INX group by abusing their official position
New Delhi: Based on the clarifications issued by Karti Chidambaram's Chess Management Services Private Limited, INX Media Private Limited on 26 June, 2008 tried to justify its actions on (i) the unapproved and unauthorised downstream investment that INX Media falsely claimed was in accordance with the approval, and (ii) the excess inflow received, which was justified as the premium received against the shares issued.
The CBI alleged that after INX Media letter, the concerned officers and FIPB unit of the Ministry of Finance, by virtue of the influence exercised over them by Karti, not only ignored the serious illegality on the part of INX Media on both the counts, but also deliberately embarked on showing undue favour to the INX group by abusing their official position. Further, they advised INX News Private Limited to apply afresh for FIPB approval with respect to the downstream investment that had already been made by INX Media Private Limited.
The CBI said, "In their endeavour to show undue favour to INX group, the officers of FIPB unit also ignored the request of the department of revenue to investigate the matter as how downstream investment in INX News Private Limited was made by the company without FIPB approval." Subsequently, INX News Private Limited — by deliberately concealing the fact that it had already received the investment in INX News Private Limited to the extent of 26 percent including indirect foreign investment — again approached the FIPB unit of the Ministry of Finance and sought permission for the downstream investment.
"Such a deceitful and fallacious proposal was favourably considered by the officials of the Ministry of Finance and approved by the then finance minister (P Chidambaram)," the CBI alleged.
The investigation agency said the concurrence to the proposed investment that had already been made without the approval of the finance ministry shows the malafide and dishonest intention on the part of the officials of the ministry for (a) not taking any punitive action against the proven violation by the company and (b) covering such illegality by seeking an application from the company and granting permission to the company as if the company was yet to receive the foreign investment.
"By such partisan and malafide acts done pursuant to the criminal conspiracy with the beneficiary company and the intermediaries, the senior officials of the Ministry of Finance not only granted the illegal approval, but also misinformed the investigation being conducted by the investigation wing of the Income Tax Department in this regard," the CBI claimed.
The FIR filed by the CBI said that for the services rendered by Karti to the INX Group through Chess Management Services in getting the matters against INX Group scuttled by influencing the public servants of the FIPB unit of the Ministry of Finance, consideration in the form of payments were received against invoice raised on INX Media Private Limited by Advantage Strategic Consulting (Private) Limited (ASCPL).
"The source informs that the very reason for getting the invoice raised in the name of ASCPL for the service rendered by Chess Management Services was with a view to conceal the identity of Karti as on the date when the invoice was raised or when payment was received, Karti was promoter, director of Chess Management Services, whereas ASCPL was being controlled by him indirectly. Information also disclosed that the invoices for approximately an amount of Rs 3.5 crore was also raised in favour of INX Group in the name of other companies in which Karti had sustainable interests either directly or indirectly. Such invoices were falsely raised for the acquisition of media content, consultancy in respect of market research, acquisition of content of various genres of audio/video etc. However, INX Group in its record has clearly mentioned the purpose of payment of Rs 10 lakh to ASCPL as towards management consultancy charges towards FIPB notification and clarification," the CBI has alleged.
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