INX-case: CBI plans confronting Peter Mukerjea with Karti Chidambaram
The CBI has got custody of Peter Mukerjea, former director of INX Media, for five days. In its affidavit, it said it plans to bring him face to face with Karti Chidambaram in the INX money laundering case. Karti, who is now out on bail, had been confronted with Indrani Mukerjea, Peter's wife and another former INX director, in Mumbai's Byculla prison.
According to CBI, INX violated guidelines of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to receive Rs. 305cr by sale of shares in 2007. When the violation was detected, INX took the help of Karti's companies "to get the issues resolved" by influencing FIPB officials. He allegedly received Rs. 3.5cr as bribe. FIPB was under the Finance Ministry, then headed by Karti's father P Chidambaram.
In May 2017, the ED had registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), an equivalent of a police FIR, against Karti, INX Media and its former directors Peter and Indrani Mukerjea. Karti was accused of criminal conspiracy, cheating, seeking to influence a public servant, and criminal misconduct. He has "categorically denied" any wrongdoings, but reportedly has been detaching himself from suspicious properties/accounts.
On February 28, the CBI arrested Karti from the Chennai airport soon after he landed from London. In the meantime, he was taken to Mumbai and confronted with Indrani, who is in prison in the Sheena Bora murder case. CBI claimed he remained "evasive" and "non-cooperative" during interrogation, and argued against alloting him a separate cell.
On March 23, the Delhi HC granted Karti bail after he had spent 13 days in Tihar Jail. The CBI had opposed relief, arguing the "influential" person had already destroyed evidence in the case. But his lawyer argued no one else had been arrested, and no case under the Prevention of Corruption Act had been made out against Karti either.