New Delhi: Former Union minister P. Chidambaram was arrested by CBI Wednesday in the corruption cases related to the INX Media scam.
A CBI team reached the former union minister’s Delhi home minutes after he held a press conference at the Congress party headquarters, in which he dismissed the ED and CBI charges as “lies”.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court refused to grant an urgent hearing of his plea seeking protection from arrest.
Chidambaram had moved the top court after the Delhi High Court rejected his plea seeking anticipatory bail.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered an FIR on 15 May, 2017 alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister during UPA I.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) in 2018 filed the money laundering case in this regard.
INX media case
According to the CBI, companies linked to Chidambaram’s son Karti had influenced the FIPB for approval of irregular investment worth Rs 305 crore in INX Media when the former was the finance minister in 2007.
INX Media was founded by Indrani Mukerjea in 2007 through two companies – INX Media Pvt Ltd and INX News Pvt Ltd. She is currently lodged in Mumbai’s Byculla jail for allegedly murdering her daughter Sheena Bora. Apart from Indrani, her husband, Peter Mukerjea, is also linked to the case.
The CBI says that the Finance Ministry, then under Chidambaram, received an application from INX media for FIPB approval on 15 March, 2007. The FIPB, in a meeting on 18 May 2017, recommended the proposal of INX media to issue equity shares to three non-resident investors, in order to create several news channels. INX Media had also proposed that financial investment of up to 26 per cent of the outstanding equity share capital of the company be allowed.
The FIPB, however, did not approve downstream investment by INX Media in INX News and even for INX Media, the board allowed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow of only Rs 4.62 crore, CBI says.
According to CBI’s FIR, contrary to the approval of FIPB, INX Media allegedly violated conditions and made an irregular investment of up to 26 per cent in capital for INX News. This generated over Rs 305 crore of FDI in INX Media against the allowed foreign inflow of Rs 4.62 crore as shares were issued to foreign investors at a premium of over Rs 800 per share.