Jailed INX Media co-founder Indrani Mukerjea, who turned approver in a corruption case linked to P Chidambaram, on Thursday said it was “good news” that the former finance minister had been arrested, reported PTI.
“He is now cornered from all sides,” Mukerjea told reporters when she was produced before a special Central Bureau of Investigation court for trials in the Sheena Bora murder case.
This is the first time Mukerjea has reacted to Chidambaram’s arrest. She added that the bail granted to Karti Chidambaram, who is also an accused in the INX Media case, should be cancelled. The former finance minister’s son was arrested by the CBI in the case in February 2018. However, the Delhi High Court granted him bail on March 23, 2018.
Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI on August 21 for alleged corruption in the Rs 305-crore clearance given to the INX Media group when he was the finance minister in 2007. The group had allegedly made payments to a firm linked to Karti Chidambaram.
Mukerjea had reportedly spilled the beans for the Chidambarams while recording her statement with the CBI last year. In her statement on February 17, 2018, Mukerjea had told the CBI that when she and her husband 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.
She claimed that Karti Chidambaram asked them for a bribe of $1 million (over Rs 7 crore at current exchange rates) when they met at Hyatt hotel in Delhi. The three worked out a plan according to which the Mukerjeas 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.
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.