01 March 2018

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Timeline Facts Explained INX Media case Karti Chidambaram Bribe Case

Timeline Facts Explained INX Media case Karti Chidambaram Bribe Case
The Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday arrested Karti Chidambaram son of former finance minister P Chidambaram from Chennai in the alleged payoffs case related to INX Media.

The arrest comes nine months after the CBI registered an FIR against him

Karti was produced before the duty magistrate after 4.30 pm.
Duty magistrate is a judge before whom the accused is produced when the concerned judge is not available in this case, the concerned special judge had left the court premises so he was produced before the duty magistrate.

He was produced before a court in Delhi which remanded him in CBI custody for a day.
Mr. Karti, who was returning to Chennai on a flight from London, was brought to Delhi on a transit remand and produced before a metropolitan magistrate. The magistrate directed the agency to produce him before a regular court at 2.30 p.m. on Thursday, when the agency is likely to seek his further custody.

The CBI sought his custodial interrogation for 15 days but duty magistrate granted a day's custody, making it clear that Karti has to be produced before the concerned special judge tomorrow at 2.30 pm.

In court Karti Chidambaram's lawyer, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, said he was being targeted because he was the senior Congress leader's son. Regarding the bribe allegation, Mr Singhvi said Karti Chidambaram was not a director or a shareholder of Advantage Strategic company, one of the companies through which the Mukerjeas had allegedly paid the bribe.

Why Karti Chidambaram was arrested?

Karti has been arrested based on the "confessional” statement recorded before a magistrate under 164 CrPC of INX Media directors Peter Mukerjea and wife Indrani.

In their statements, which is admissible as evidence in the court, the Mukerjeas had claimed to have paid close to $700,000 (Rs 3.10 crore) to Karti through subsidiaries abroad for organizing clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to bring in foreign funds for their TV venture INX Media.

Karti Chidambaram is accused of receiving kickbacks in 2007 to clear the foreign investment, using the influence of his father, who was then the Union finance minister. At the time, the company was owned by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea.

What is INX Media Case?
How Karti Chidambaram is involved in INX Media Case?

The FIPB comes under the finance ministry, the charge of which was then with Karti's father and senior Congress politician P Chidambaram
FIPB was a national agency of the central government with the remit to consider and recommend foreign direct investment (FDI) that does not come under the automatic route.

March 2007 –

INX Media applied for clearance with the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) on March 15, 2007
INX Media had sought this approval in order to operate and broadcast a bouquet of channels including Hindi entertainment channel, and multiple entertainment channels.

According to the CBI, the Board in its meeting on 18 March, 2007 approved an FDI inflow of Rs 4.62 crore against INX Media. It did not, however, approve the downstream investment by INX Media in INX News

Mukerjeas applied for FIPB approval for foreign direct investments (FDIs) against 46% equity in their TV venture. The approval was granted by FIPB two months later. However, the Mukerjeas concealed the fact that they had already received 26% FDI in their venture and are not eligible for further investments to the tune of Rs 305 crore.

The irregularities were caught by the Income Tax department which pointed out that INX Media had obtained Rs 305 crore by issue of shares as against the “approved” foreign inflow of Rs 4.62 crore and had made downstream investment to the extent of 26% in INX New Pvt Ltd without FIPB approval.

As per the CBI’s FIR, “INX Media (P) Limited deliberately and in violation of the conditions of the approval made a downstream investment to the extent of 26% in the capital of INX News (P) Limited without the specific approval of FIPB which included indirect foreign investment by the same foreign investors and generated more than Rs 305 crores Foreign Direct Investment in INX Media (P) Limited against the approved foreign inflow of Rs 4.62 crores.

After this Mukerjea approached to Karti as per CBI and Ed reports.

The FIR goes on to describe the quid pro quo by showing how INX media made the payment to Karti “for the services rendered by Karti P Chidambaram to INX Group through Chess Management Services…considerations in the form of payment were received against an invoice raised on INX Media by one Advantage Strategic Consulting (P) Limited (ASCPL).

Kartis Company Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt Ltd (ASCPL) was engaged for the purpose. The ASCPL and its associated companies around this time raised four invoices for $700,000 (Rs 3.10 crore). Soon, FIPB accorded approval for downstream investment by INX Media.

Based on clarifications suggested by Chess Management Services, whose promoter is Karti, INX Media replied to FIPB’s letter “justifying their actions”. Furthermore, CBI alleges that owing to Karti’s influence, the concerned officers and officials of the Board not only ignored the violations on the part of INX Media but also advised the group to apply for fresh FIPB approvals. This “deceitful and fallacious” proposal was later approved

FIR registered on May 15, 2017, against Mr. Karti, his previous company Chess Management Services and another firm Advantage Strategic Consulting that he allegedly controlled; and INX Media and its arm INX News, earlier represented by Ms. Indrani and her husband as directors. Based on initial information, the FIR had mentioned only ₹10 lakh as alleged quid quo pro.

In May 2008, FIPB issued a letter to INX Media seeking clarification on both issues.

The ED and CBI searches have led to the recovery of “digital evidences” which includes the invoices raised by Karti’s ASCPL of July 15, 2008.

As per media reports “Invoices issued by ASCPL claimed that the service rendered was management consultancy, but the ledger extracts produced by the INX Media (to agencies) showed that payments were made for ‘reply towards FIPB notification’ and clarification,”

In their statements before ED and CBI, both Peter and Indrani admitted that they had met P Chidambaram in his office at North Block where the then finance minister told them “to help the business of his son Karti, and to make foreign remittances for this purpose”.

Indrani and Peter further told the agencies in their statements that after meeting the Finance Minister  they met his son Karti at Hotel Hyatt in Delhi where the latter demanded $1 million in “illegal gratification” for helping them with their FIPB approval. They further said that Karti suggested the names of his Chess management and Advantage Strategic as ‘alternatives to make payments’. “Indrani Mukerjea confirmed payment of $700,000 abroad,”

Four invoices were raised by the ASCPL amounting to $700,000. The invoices were drawn by ASCPL, its Singapore subsidiary and associated companies—Northstar Software Solutions Pvt Ltd and Geben Trading Ltd. These invoices were recovered from the hard disks of computers S Bhaksararaman, who is also the chartered accountant of Karti Chidambaram. The copies of these invoices were also recovered during the search on INX Media.

Media also reported that ASCPL had also received payments "on behalf" of Karti in other cases, where money was paid in "proximity to approvals given by the Ministry of Finance", including from Aircel Televentures Limited for an FIPB approval for the sale of its shares in Aircel Limited to Maxis in March, 2006.

In short Inx Media case timeline

May 15, 2017 - CBI files FIR, alleging irregularities in Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007

September 11, 2017 - CBI tells SC it has furnished details in a sealed cover on the probe about "possible transactions" in foreign countries and 25 alleged offshore properties of Karti Chidambaram.

October 9, 2017- Karti seeks SC's permission to visit the United Kingdom to get his daughter admitted at the Cambridge University and expresses willingness to undertake that he would not visit any bank there.

November 20, 2017 - SC allows Karti to visit UK for daughter's admission

February 16, 2018 – Karti's CA S Bhaskararaman arrested for allegedly assisting him to manage his "ill-gotten wealth" in India and abroad.

February 28, 2018 - Karti arrested by CBI at Chennai aiport and brought to Delhi. Delhi court sends him to one-day police custody.

Peter and Indrani Mukerjea couple has been in jail on charges of murdering her daughter Sheena Bora since 2015. Media needs to watch Sheena Bora murder trial carefully
Someone gives someone something in exchange for something
How many times CBI uses this CRPC clause to arrest someone?
A food for thought

No one is guilty and criminal unless and until pronounced by the Court of Law.

Reality views by sm –

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Tags – Explained Facts INX Media Case Karti Chidambaram Case Bribe