ED questions Karti Chidambaram in INX Media case
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday questioned former finance minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti in connection with the INX Media money-laundering case. Sources said Karti arrived at ED headquarters around 11 am and was questioned till late in the evening. He was asked about the financial affairs of Advantage Strategic, a company allegedly associated with him, and the relationship between consultancy fees received by this company and the FIPB approval given to INX Media by his father’s ministry to bring in foreign direct investment.
Karti had appeared following summons by the agency. His authorised representative had met the investigating officer on the last two occasions and the central probe agency had subsequently asked him to appear himself. The central probe agency had filed a case against him and others in May last year. It had registered an Enforcement Case Information Report, the ED’s equivalent of a police FIR, against the accused named in a CBI complaint, including Karti, INX Media and its directors, Peter and Indrani Mukerjea.
The ECIR was lodged under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Sources said the ED is probing the alleged “proceeds of crime” generated in this case.
It was the ED that had provided information about the alleged illegal payments made by INX Media, based on which the CBI filed its FIR. The CBI had also carried out searches at the homes and offices of Karti across four cities for allegedly receiving money from the media firm owned by the Mukerjeas to scuttle a tax probe.
The Chidambarams have denied all the charges against them and called the action by the agencies “political vendetta”. The CBI had filed the FIR against Karti and the Mukerjeas on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, receiving illegal gratification, influencing public servants and criminal misconduct.