New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is set to file a case of money laundering against Karti Chidambaram and INX Media in connection with alleged irregularities in the grant of FIPB approval to the company for gaining access to foreign direct investment.
The ED case will be filed under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). It will follow a case of corruption filed by CBI on Monday against Karti and the INX group after multiple raids.
“We have received the CBI FIR and a case of money laundering will soon be registered,” said a senior ED official. Such a case will also open doors for ED to possibly attach assets in the case.
Notably, it was on ED’s reference that the case against Karti and INX Media was registered by the CBI. The ED, which is already investigating a company associated with Karti in connection with the Aircel Maxis deal and FDI inflow into Vasan Healthcare, had found documents related to the INX Media FDI inflow during raids.
The ED had found documents that showed Advantage Strategic Consulting, a company that CBI claimed is indirectly controlled by Karti, was paid Rs 10 lakh as consultancy fees to help it get FIPB approval in 2008. Karti’s father P Chidambaram was then Finance Minister.
The CBI on Tuesday conducted raids at premises linked to Karti and the residence of Peter Mukerjea and Indrani Mukerjea among 14 locations spread across Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi NCR in connection with the case.
The CBI FIR alleged that INX’s FDI inflow had been initially flagged by FIPB for irregularities and it had sought clarification from the media house. However, after it roped in a company owned by Karti Chidambaram for consultancy, its fresh proposal was approved by FIPB “by virtue of influence exercised over them by Karti P Chidambaram”, the CBI FIR says.
By doing this, the CBI has alleged that the officials “not only ignored the serious illegality on the part of M/S INX Media… but also embarked on showing undue favour to INX Group by abusing their official position”.
Denying any wrongdoing, Karti Chidambaram said “I am being targeted politically and personally to besmirch the name of my father. They have not seized any documents and cannot prove any charges against me. I have not done anything wrong.