BY : JAHNVI SRIVASTAVA
P. Chidambaram’s INX media scam
P. Chidambaram’s INX media scam is a legendary case of money laundering. P. Chidambaram is a well known congress leader as well as he was the Union Minister of India who was probed by the Enforcement Directorate and CBI officials who imposed allegations upon P. Chidambaram for deformities in the FIPB (foreign investment promotion board) and the clearance given to INX media group for the overseas funds of Rs.305 crores. Mr P. Chidambaram at the time when he was holding the office of finance minister in the UPA one government allowed the transfer for the overseas payment.
It was in the month of March in the year 2007 when INX media went to the chairman of FIPB to get approval for issuing equity shares to 3 of the non-nationals of the country in Mauritius through the Foreign Direct Investment route. The company also requested for downstream financial investment of about 26 per cent for all the issued and outstanding capital shares of INX news Pt. Ltd.
The FBI finally gave permission for the FDI inflow of about 4.26 crores but at the same time, FBI disapproved the downstream investment that INX media group approached for. The INX media group intentionally violated and overlooked the conditions and approval laid down by FBI regarding the downstream investment due to which FDI inflow was increased by Rs. 3.5 crores.
The Ed then registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) on May 2017 against INX media, it’s director Peter Mukharji and Indirani Mukharji and Kartik Chidambaram under the guidelines laid down by Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PALA).
CBI has also filed an FIR (First information report) against the above named accused in accordance with the information that was provided by the ED about the irregularities in the FIPB clearance that was given to the INX media group in the year 2007 for illegally receiving the overseas funds of Rs. 3.5 crores. Karti Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI officials in the month of February in 2018 as he was connected to the INX media case. Later he was released on bail. The ED also took note and account of the properties that were held by Karti Chidambaram, Peter Mukharji and Indirani Mukharji and hence prepared a report simultaneously.
The ED also claimed that the then finance minister Mr P. Chidambaram had a meeting with the employees of INX media group and INX news. P. Chidambaram in spite of being aware of the fact that in the request made by Information and Broadcasting Minister was being investigated even then he approved the Foreign Direct Investment without even raising any questions due to the involvement of his son Karti Chidambaram.
Former finance minister P. Chidambaram sought incident protection from Honourable Supreme Court in the INX media case. The relief sought by him that he cannot be taken into custody by the ED without the permission of the apex court. P. Chidambaram was sent to five-day CBI custody by the trial court on the request made by CBI in the trial court. Mr P. Chidambaram was arrested by CBI from his house on 21st August.
P. Chidambaram made a request to the apex court for his anticipatory bail in the CBI case. Honourable Supreme Court refused to hear his request for an anticipatory bail in CBI case as he was already remanded to police custody.
CURRENT ISSUE (P. Chidambaram’s INX media scam)
After that the judgement came that was passed by the Delhi High Court in which the HC did not granted the petition to the lawyer who was representing the case of P. Chidambaram who wanted to get the permission from the HC so that he could save P. Chidambaram from getting arrested by the police in INX Media Case.
The rejection of plea order came on August 20 after which the ED and CBI could easily move against P. Chidambaram. The very next day that is on 20th August the lawyers approached the Supreme Court. However, due to lapse of time, the hearing could not be done by Chief Justice Gogoi and simultaneously they were instructed to take their appeal to Justice Ranjan on 21st August in the morning time.
On Wednesday that is on 21st August, the lawyers representing P. Chidambaram requested that urgent hearing should be done so they approached Justice Ramana through the provision of Mentioning that means a case which is urgent to hear upon but could not be heard by a court can be shifted to another court. Prior mentioned Chief Justice could not hear the case as he was busy in Ayodhya case hearing.
However, the hearing could not be done as Justice Ramana told the lawyer of P. Chidambaram (Kapil Sibal) that after the lunch break the hearing will be done by Chief Justice Gogoi only but nothing much happened as the Chief Justice continued the hearing of Ayodhya case.
The lawyers again went back to Justice Ramana who told that due to the technical faults in their case the hearing could not be done in spite of the lawyers requesting the judge as they feared the arrest of P. Chidambaram and hence, they cited the example of Nitin Johri case also but the court refused to listen.
Lawyers were hoping that case hearing will be done the very next day that is on August 22 but the court ordered that case will be heard on August 23.
Finally, on August 23 the Supreme Court heard the case of P. Chidambaram in the case against ED’s action and the court held that he has been granted relief from being arrested till 26th August.
Further, on 26th August, the Supreme Court bench heard the case. Justice R. Bhanumathi and Justice AS Bhopana constituted the bench who dismissed the case as they held that plea against the Delhi HC’s judgement was pointless as CBI has already arrested P. Chidambaram so there remains no point of hearing the plea.
On the very next day that is on August 27, Justice Ramana said that the court will first hear the arguments that will be laid down by ED and till then that is 28th August the police cannot arrest P. Chidambaram.
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Evidence collected by the ED during investigation reveals that money has been transferred from one shell company to another shell company and P. Chidambaram had various properties in India as well as abroad in the name shell company. CBI recorded the statement of the owner of the INX company Indirani Mukharji now approver in the incredible case and her husband Peter Mukharji during the investigation that they had gone to Chidambaram for FIPB approval and Mr P. Chitambaram had asked them to take care of his son Karti Chidambaram. ED also claims that P. Chidambaram was aware of the fact that on the request of Information and Broadcasting Minister the matter was being investigated even though he approved FDI without raising any question due to the involvement of his son. Also, if P. Chidambaram wants to be out on bail and for that matter of fact wants the plea to be heard then his lawyers according to the provisions must at first take the bail plea in CBI court then they may refer to Delhi HC and SC.
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