Karti Can Tamper With Evidence if Allowed to Travel Abroad: CBI
Exclusive: An internal report on the INX Media probe reveals evidence of Karti having received gratification.
Former directors of INX media, Indrani and Peter Mukherjea, have confessed to having paid a bribe of $1 million to Karti Chidambaram in return of a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance for their company in 2007, according to an internal report prepared by probe agencies and accessed by The Quint.
The report claims that in their statements to the Enforcement Directorate (ED), both accused Indrani and Peter admitted to Karti’s role in INX Media getting a clearance for receiving foreign funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore when P Chidambaram, Karti’s father, was the finance minister.
Karti was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at Chennai airport on 28 February, after he landed from London. He was produced in Patiala House Court in Delhi that remanded him to one day of CBI custody.
One of the grounds to arrest Karti, as informed to the court, were his frequent foreign trips. The CBI expressed apprehension that Karti may “tamper with the evidence lying abroad... in the form of a secret note received from the Ministry of Finance.”
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Evidence of Illegal Gratification to Karti
The internal report reveals the alleged evidence that the agencies have collected against Karti in the INX media case. The report says,
In their statements to the ED, Mukherjeas admitted that they had met P Chadambaram in his office in North Block, where Chidambaram told them to help the businesses of his son Karti, and to make foreign remittances for this purpose. They further admitted to having met Karti at Grand Hyatt hotel in Delhi, where a demand for illegal gratification of USD 1 million was made. It was further admitted by the Mukherjeas that Karti suggested the firms ‘Chess Management’ and ‘Advantage Strategic’ as means to route the payment.
The internal report further says that Indrani, in her statement recorded by the CBI before a magistrate under Section 164 of CrPC, “confirmed payment of USD 700,000 abroad” to Karti.
As corroborative evidence to the statement given by Indrani, CBI has claimed to have seized four invoices. These invoices add up to approx USD 700,000 and were drawn by Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt Ltd’s Singapore subsidiary, another associate company, Northstar Software Solutions Pvt Ltd, and Geben Trading Ltd.
The internal report says,
All these invoices were recovered from hard disks of Bhaksararaman, chattered accountant of Karti. These invoices bear signatures of Peter.
Bhaksararaman was arrested by the ED on 16 February 2018 under the PMLA case.
Grounds to Arrest Karti
Karti had been questioned by the CBI and ED several times in the INX media case. On Wednesday, Karti was arrested because he was evasive and uncooperative with the agency in his replies, claims CBI. The agency has also said that Karti’s lack of cooperation is causing a delay in concluding the investigation.
While producing Karti in court, CBI claimed,
- Karti did not cooperate with the investigation until he was compelled to do so by the Supreme Court.
- He vehemently denied that he or his company had any interaction with INX media on any matter, including FIPB related matter, despite evidence to the contrary.
- He denied being part of ASCPL company or its activities, in spite of enough oral and documentary evidence to show that his company did interact with INX media on the FIPB issue.
The CBI will produce Karti in court again on Thursday.
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