Chidambaram questioned by CBI in INX Media case

Congress leader P Chidambaram
Congress leader P Chidambaram.(File Photo: IANS)

New Delhi, June 6 : Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram was grilled by the CBI regarding his role in the INX Media case. The CBI has alleged irregularities in payments made by the media company to Chidambaram’s son, Karti, in return for clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board or FIPB.

Chidambaram has also been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate on June 12 over the alleged money laundering in the Aircel-Maxis case

The agency had alleged irregularities in the clearance of foreign investment in INX media, a venture promoted by former media baron Peter Mukerjea and his wife Indrani, sources said. Chidambaram’s alleged role came under the scanner of investigating agencies in connection with the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance of Rs 305 crore.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday questioned former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram for “over five hours” here in the Rs 3,500 crore Aircel-Maxis deal.

Chidambaram appeared at the ED’s office around 11 a.m. – within an hour after a city court extended the interim protection to him from arrest till July 10 in connection with the case after directing him to join the probe whenever required.

According to ED sources, Chidambaram was questioned till 1.30 p.m. when he was given a break and was allowed to step out of the ED office to have his lunch. The questioning resumed at 3 p.m. and continued till around 6 p.m.

It was the first time when the senior Congress leader joined the probe in the case. The ED had issued a fresh summon to him on Monday to appear before the investigating officer of the case. The agency recorded his statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The questioning is part of ED investigation in a money laundering case registered in 2017 against Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis case.

Earlier, the court had allowed interim protection to Karti Chidambaram till July 10.

The Central Bureau of Investigation and the ED are investigating how Karti Chidambaram allegedly managed to get a clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in the Aircel-Maxis deal when his father was the Union Finance Minister in 2006.

The ED, in September 2017, had attached Rs 1.16 crore worth of assets of Karti Chidambaram, who is being probed for allegedly receiving kickbacks in lieu of the FIPB clearance.

The ED is probing the Aircel-Maxis deal under the PMLA after taking cognisance of a 2011 Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) complaint in the case.

ent in March and 2.99 per cent in the corresponding period of the previous year.

The fourth quarter estimate of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) released by the Central Statistics Office last month estimated the growth rate at 7.7 per cent, as against 5.6 per cent, 6.3 per cent and 7 per cent respectively in the first three quarters.

Recent crude oil price volatility imparts considerable uncertainty to the inflation outlook, the RBI said.

“Since the MPC meeting in early April, the price of the Indian basket of crude surged from $66 a barrel to $74. This, along with an increase in other global commodity prices and recent global financial market developments, has resulted in a firming up of input cost pressures,” the statement said.

To arrive at this decision, the MPC extended its deliberations this time by an extra day.

Commenting on the development, Deloitte India Partner Anis Chakravarty said in a statement: “The RBI was cautious on the factors that could change the course of the underlying optimism, major among them being the projections on oil price movement and rising geopolitical tensions.

“However, given that the committee has maintained a neutral stance, there remains room for manoeuvrability in policy perspective should incoming data show sharp fluctuations.”

“Recent hike in crude prices and better GDP for last quarter of FY 18 suggest inflation trajectory may be on the higher side. Though, this may put some pressure on borrowers, it is positive news for the savers in the economy,” said Arihant Capital Markets Director Anita Gandhi.

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