Karti Chidambaram arrested, to be taken to court today: Top 10 developments

Karti Chidambaram, former finance minister P Chidambaram’s son, was brought to New Delhi on Wednesday after being arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Chennai in connection with the so-called INX Media money-laundering case. He will be produced before a designated court later today.According to Karti Chidambaram’s PRO, he was detained at the Chennai Airport. After the necessary formalities were completed, 46-year-old Karti was put on a domestic flight to the national capital.The case relates to the approval given by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for the receipt of funds by INX Media which took place while Karti’s father, P Chidambaram, was the Union finance minister. CBI has alleged that the Foreign Exchange Management Act (Fema) was violated. The Chidambarams, however, have denied all charges made against them.The Congress has called Karti’s arrest a “vendetta” and a “diversionary tactic”. The BJP, for its part, has said that this is the law.Here are the top 10 developments around Karti Chidambaram and the INX Media case:1) CBI to use Indrani Mukerjea’s confession: CBI sources told news agencies that the probe agency will inform the court about Indrani Mukerjea’s alleged confession that in 2007, the Mukerjea couple took help of Chess Management Service once their application for FIPB clearance of Rs 3.05 billion (Rs 305 crore) was rejected. The sources added that the FIPB allowed only Rs 50 million (Rs 5 crore) clearance.The CBI sources added that once Chess Management was hired and rules were made for Karti’s ‘services’. Further, Karti’s management company was paid Rs 1 million (Rs 10 lakh). This, according to the sources, would be the focus of the remand application.

2) BJP says this is law, not a vendetta: Reacting to Karti Chidambaram being taken into CBI custody, BJP’s Sambit Patra said this was about the law, and not vendetta. “I believe no one should consider oneself above the law of country. If corrupt are being jailed and law is taking its own course, I see no reason why any political party should cry vendetta,” Patra said.

3) Detained at the airport: On Wednesday morning, Karti Chidambaram was detained by the CBI in connection with the INX Media case. According to news agency PTI, officials said that Karti was arrested at the Chennai airport at around eight in the morning when he returned from the United Kingdom.

4) ‘Congress won’t be deterred’: Reacting to Karti Chidambaram being taken into custody by the CBI, Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said the party would not be deterred by unleashing of a vendetta against P Chidambaram and his family. “We will continue to bring out the truth,” Surjewala added.

Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan said while the CBI might have evidence against Karti, there was “no justification” to arrest him during investigation, without a chargesheet being filed, as there was no danger he would flee the country.

5) Karti’s CA remanded to 14-day judicial custody: On Monday, Delhi’s Patiala House court had sent S Bhaskaran, Karti’s chartered accountant (CA), to 14-day judicial custodyin connection with the INX Media case.According to agency reports, Special judge N K Malhotra had sent the CA to Tihar Jail after he was produced from the custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), whose special public prosecutor Nitesh Rana had sought three more days of custodial interrogation. Bhaskararaman had been arrested from a five-star hotel in the heart of the national capital on February 16.ALSO READ: INX Media PMLA case: Karti Chidambaram appears before ED for questioningEarlier, the probe agency had claimed that during the course of its investigation, it found that Bhaskararaman, who is a qualified CA, had been assisting Karti in managing his “ill-gotten wealth”, both in India and abroad.The agency had said that the investigation required the presence of Bhaskararaman for collecting vital evidence and other information within his special knowledge and exclusive domain.6) P Chidambaram approached SC: On February 24, it was reported that senior Congress leader P Chidambaram had approached the Supreme Court seeking the protection of his fundamental rights, including the right to privacy. The senior Chidambaram took the step amid summons to his son Karti and raids by the CBI and the ED in connection with the Aircel-Maxis and INX Media cases.The senior Chidambaram claimed in his plea that as part of a “political vendetta”, the CBI and the ED had made “vexatious” searches and issued repeated summons in these cases.7) Karti was under ED scanner, too: On February 23, it was reported that the Supreme Court refused to interfere with the summons issued by the ED against Karti in the INX Media case. The apex court had asked him to appear before it on March 1.Refusing to interfere with the ED’s summons, the Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Amitava Roy, and Justice D Y Chandrachud had, however, adjourned the hearing until March 6. The Bench had permitted Karti to make a representation to the ED seeking more time to appear before it.Earlier, Karti had been questioned by the ED, which had summoned him on February 2, after which he had informed the agency that he would be unable to depose as he had an interlocutory application pending in the Supreme Court in this case, says reports.ALSO READ: Aircel- Maxis case: ED raids Karti Chidambaram’s premises in Delhi, Chennai8) Raids and hours of grilling: On February 16, it was reported that the ED carried out fresh searches against people allegedly linked to Karti in connection with the INX Media case.Officials had told news agencies that the raids were conducted at three premises in Chennai under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the anti-money laundering law. The officials added that the searches were carried out against people allegedly linked to Karti.On February 15, the ED had questioned Karti for over 10 hours in Delhi.ALSO READ: Aircel-Maxis case: Karti Chidambaram moves SC against CBI summon9) The CBI case: The CBI had filed an FIR on May 15 last year, alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving funds from abroad to the tune of Rs 3.05 billion (Rs 305 crore) in 2007, when senior Chidambaram was the Union finance minister.It is alleged that Karti received funds to the tune of Rs 1 million (Rs 10 lakh) in the case, they said.The CBI is also probing the alleged irregularities in grant of FIPB clearance to the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006.10) The ED case: The ED had registered a money laundering case against Karti and others in May of 2017. It registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), the probe agency’s equivalent of a police FIR, against the accused who were also named in a CBI complaint, including Karti, INX Media, and its directors — Peter and Indrani Mukerjea.The ECIR was lodged under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The central probe agency has been probing the alleged “proceeds of crime” generated in this case.It was the ED that had provided information about the alleged illegal payments made by INX Media, based on which the CBI had filed its FIR.The ED has alleged that INX Media, deliberately and in violation of the conditions of the approval, made a downstream investment of 26 per cent in the capital of INX News Pvt Ltd without specific approval of FIPB. This included indirect foreign investment by some foreign investors. This generated Rs 3.05 billion (Rs 305 crore) foreign direct investment in INX Media Pvt Ltd against the approved foreign inflow of Rs 46.2 million (Rs 4.62 crore).The ED further alleged that INX Media entered into a criminal conspiracy with Karti to wriggle out of the situation without any punitive action.Moreover, the agency alleged that the finance ministry’s FIPB unit had not only granted an illegal approval but also misinformed the Income Tax Department’s investigation wing.business-standard.