The CBI on Friday filed a charge sheet before a Delhi court in the INX Media case naming former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, his son and serving as well as former bureaucrats and charging them with corruption.
The chargesheet filed before Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar, who will take up the matter on October 21, claimed that Chidambaram "misused his official position" in granting approval to a FDI proposal of INX Media in lieu of "illegal gratification" in India and through offshore payments.
Besides Chidambaram, who was arrested by the CBI on August 21, and his son Karti, 12 others are also named in the chargesheet.
The charge sheet was filed just three days before the mandatory 60-day period expires after the arrest of Chidambaram. If a chargesheet was not filed within this period, Chidambaram is entitled for bail by default.
Those named in the chargesheet include former INX Media promoter Peter Mukherjea, former NITI Ayog CEO Sindhushree Khullar, former Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Secretary Anup K Pujari, government officials, former and serving officials Prabodh Saxena, Rabindra Prasad and Ajit Kumar Dungdung, INX Media, INX News, Chess Management Services and Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt Ltd (ASCPL) among others.
Indrani, former wife of Peter Mukerjea and former INX Media promoter, has turned approver. Her name is mentioned in the chargesheet but no charges has been invoked against her,
Chidambaram, who was in judicial custody in the CBI case, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on October 16 in the money laundering case arising out of the FIR registered by the CBI, which probes the corruption angle in the case.
The former Finance Minister is facing allegations of illegally granting permission to INX Media to receive Rs 305 crore foreign direct investment when he was Finance Minister under UPA government. Karti is accused of influencing Ministry of Finance officials to grant the clearance using his father's clout.
Chidambaram had been also accused of asking former Peter and Indrani to help his son's business when they approached him for help. Indrani, whom the CBI may make a prosecution witness, had alleged she had paid USD five million through offshore payments. While the CBI had filed the FIR against Karti and others on 15 May, 2017, he was arrested on 28 February, 2018.
According to the CBI, officials in the Ministry of Finance acted under the influence of Karti to grant FIPB clearance for foreign investment, which the firm had already acquired without any formal approval from the government.
It had claimed four invoices adding upto around USD seven lakh were recovered from the hard disks of Bhaskaraman.
The agency also had claimed that one of the invoices raised by INX Media showed a payment of Rs 9.96 lakh (Rs 10 lakh plus taxes less TDS) to ASCPL), which it claimed is "indirectly" controlled by Karti, through a cheque dated 15 July, 2008. While the invoice issued by ASCPL claimed the service rendered was management consultancy, the ledger extract produced by INX Media showed that payment had been made for 'reply towards FIPB notification and clarification'.