Indrani Mukerjea and her husband Peter Mukerjea had told the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate last year that when they met P Chidambaram in 2006, when he was the finance minister, in his North Block office, he asked them to meet his son Karti Chidambaram and help him in his business, the Hindustan Times reported on Thursday.
In her statement on February 17, 2018, Indrani Mukerjea claimed that Karti Chidambaram asked them for a bribe of $1 million (Rs 7.18 crore at current exchange rates) when they met at Hyatt hotel in Delhi. The three worked out a plan according to which the Mukherjeas engaged Karti Chidambaram’s company Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt Ltd. The company, in turn, raised four invoices for $7,00,000 (Rs 5.02 crore) on INX Media and were reimbursed.
Subsequently, the Foreign Investment Promotion Board gave INX Media the approval to fix the irregularities, Indrani Mukerjea claimed.
However, in March 2007, INX Media breached the condition laid down by the board for raising 46% equity capital through the issue of shares. Instead of the Rs 4.62 crore limit the board had imposed, INX Media raised Rs 305 crore by issuing shares at a premium, a CBI official said. The official added that when P Chidambaram was confronted with these allegations, he did not cooperate with the investigation.
In May 2017, the Enforcement Directorate filed a money laundering case against Karti Chidambaram, INX Media and its directors Indrani Mukerjea and Peter Mukerjea. Karti Chidambaram’s company allegedly received Rs 10 lakh from INX Media for helping the firm escape punitive action for taking Rs 305 crore in foreign funding in 2007 despite having clearance from the Foreign Exchange Promotion Board for only Rs 4.62 crore.
Karti Chidambaram has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in the INX Media case.