Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, who was arrested by the CBI late on Wednesday, 21 August, has faced twenty key questions posed by the agency about his involvement in the money laundering and corruption related to the INX Media case.
Here are the questions:
- What is the source of income of your properties abroad?
- Where did money come from for purchase of properties in UK, Spain and Malaysia?
- Where did money come from for purchase of the Barcelona Tennis Club?
- Why did Karti Chidambaram receive money from British Virgin Island?
- Where did you or Karti Chidambaram invest the money received as bribe for INX deal?
- We have evidence of your foreign-based shell companies. What is it that you will say on this?
- How many shell companies belong to you and Karti?
- What was the business or in which sectors were these shell companies dealing in?
- The Financial Intelligence Unit has raised queries over FDI investment of over Rs 305 crore made by three Mauritius-based companies in INX Media Pvt Ltd, then owned by Peter Mukherjea and his former wife Indrani Mukerjea. What do you have say on this?
- Did your son influence the various departments of FIPB?
- In your capacity as Finance Minister, how did you approve your son, Karti flouting all foreign investment rules in the INX media deal?
- Why did you meet Indrani Mukerjea at North Block?
- Had you asked Indrani Mukerjea to keep in touch with Karti Chidambaram?
- Had you met with Peter Mukerjea too?
- Who are other officers in North Block involved in giving clearance to INX Media at your behest?
- Why didn’t you turn up despite being served notice?
- Where were you since the time Delhi High Court turned down anticipatory bail plea till yesterday evening and whom did you meet during this time and where?
- Your mobile phone was switched off during this period. Which number did you use?
- Why did you leave your driver and clerk on the way back from the Supreme Court yesterday (Tuesday) if your intention was not to evade arrest?
- Why didn’t you appear even after CBI’s notice?
A dramatic sequence of events unfolded on Wednesday after 8 pm, which culminated into Chidambaram’s arrest.
Officials close to the investigation, requesting anonymity, said that Chidambaram’s formal questioning started just after 12 am on Thursday, with CBI Director Rishi Kumar Shukla himself present in the headquarters along with all top agency officials.
Most of Chidambaram’s answer have been “ambiguous,” many not “clear” and some “unanswerable.”
The 73-year-old was first offered food by the CBI, which he refused, following which the crucial questioning began – the list had 20 questions related to the case including questions on his meeting with Indrani Mukerjea, co-founder of INX Media.
Indrani, currently in jail for allegedly murdering her daughter Sheena Bora, has turned approver in the case. The case against Chidambaram and his son, Karti Chidambaram has been built on her statement, said sources.
It is learnt that Mukerjea has told the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that Chidambaram instructed them to help Karti in his businesses in exchange for approval for foreign investment in INX Media.
Mukerjea has reportedly informed the agency that the names of two firms – ‘Chess Management’ and ‘Advantage Strategic’ – were discussed as possible conduits for payments to Karti in return for regularising alleged irregularities in foreign investment to INX media, the source said.
The case relates to an FIR registered by the CBI on May 15, 2017 over alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance provided to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007, when Chidambaram was the Union Finance Minister.
The ED had lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2018.
The Enforcement Directorate and CBI are probing how Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram managed to get FIPB clearance in 2007 when his father was the Finance Minister.
Karti was arrested on February 28, 2018 by the CBI for allegedly accepting money to facilitate the FIPB clearance to INX Media. He was later granted bail.
His chartered accountant, S.Bhaskararaman, was also arrested and released on bail later.