CBI Arrests Karti Chidambaram in INX Media Money-Laundering Case

CBI Arrests Karti Chidambaram in INX Media Money-Laundering Case P Chidambaram (right) with his son Karti Chidambaram.

Karti Chidambaram, son of former finance minister P Chidambaram was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at Chennai airport this morning, reported media. Reports said CBI made the arrest in connection with the INX Media money-laundering case.

As Karti landed in Chennai from London after a visit, the CBI detained him for interrogation and then arrested him. However, News Minute quoted a CBI spokesperson as saying that the agency could not confirm the arrest and it would be speculative to say anything now.

Another version for Karti’s arrest was that he was not cooperating with the CBI in the INX Media money-laundering case.

The INX Media money-laundering case was expected to gather momentum after Karti’s chartered accountant S Bhaskararaman was arrested on February 16 by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). On February 26, the CBI Special court in New Delhi remanded him to 14 days judicial custody.

The money-laundering case relates to a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval given in 2007 for receipt of funds by INX Media, when P Chidambaram, Karti’s father and a die-hard loyalist of the Gandhi family, was the Union finance minister in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government.

The ED said that during the course of investigation, it found out that Mr Bhaskararaman, a qualified CA, had been assisting Mr Karti to manage his "ill-gotten wealth" in India and abroad.

The agency arrested Bhaskararaman, saying that the investigation required his presence for collecting vital evidence and other information which was within his special knowledge and exclusive domain.

INX Media is alleged to have had deliberately and in violation of the conditions of the approval made a downstream investment of 26 per cent in the capital of INX News Pvt Ltd without specific approval of FIPB, which included indirect foreign investment by some foreign investors, and generated Rs 305 crore foreign direct investment in INX Media Pvt Ltd against the approved foreign inflow of Rs 4.62 crore.

Earlier, the CBI had arrested Indrani Mukherjee, one of the founders of INX media.

The ED has registered a case against INX Media, its founders Peter Mukerjea, former media baron and his wife Indrani, and others under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Karti Chidambaram had helped INX Media, for monetary gains, to wriggle out of the situation for violating the PMLA Act without any punitive action. The ED has charged INX Media with entering into a criminal conspiracy with Karti.

The FIPB unit of the Finance Ministry not only granted illegal approval but also misinformed the investigation wing of Income Tax Department, the ED has told the Special CBI court in Delhi.

Even as Indrani was arrested, a demand was made for Karti’s arrest on the ground that when a briber given can be arrested, why not the bribe taker. It was only a matter of time before Karti’s arrest would be made.