INX Media PMLA case: ED questions P Chidambaram

INX Media PMLA case: ED questions P Chidambaram

Former Union minister P Chidambaram arrived at the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office for questioning in the INX Media money laundering case on Wednesday, official sources said. PTI file photo

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate for the first time for questioning in connection with the INX Media money laundering case.

Chidambaram arrived at the agency's office at around 11:15 am along with his lawyer. The senior He was asked to depose before the investigating officer (IO) of the case to record his statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Sources said the former minister has appeared before the ED in connection with this case for the first time. The ED had earlier questioned him in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case.

Chidambaram's appearance comes a month after the Delhi High Court extended till January 15 the interim protection from arrest granted to him. The court had also directed him to cooperate with the investigation.

His role as the finance minister in the UPA-I regime in granting approval to INX Media by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) has come under the scanner of the CBI and the ED. Chidambaram had earlier denied any wrongdoing.

The CBI had claimed "irregularities" in the granting of the FIPB approval, and Chidambaram's son Karti was arrested by the CBI in connection with the case in February. The ED had filed a case on the basis of the CBI FIR.

According to the FIR registered on May 15, 2017, officials of the Ministry of Finance and FIPB 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. Chidambaram was the finance minister and the head of FIPB then.

The ED had claimed that irregularities took place in the FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when Chidambaram was the finance minister.