A Delhi court on Friday dismissed the surrender application of former Union Minister P Chidambaram. The Congress leader, who is currently lodged in Tihar jail after he was arrested by the CBI in the INX media case, had moved an application to surrender to the Enforcement Directorate in the same case. Chidambaram will continue to remain in jail till September
Chidambaram is under probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and ED over alleged irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to INX Media for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during his tenure as Union Finance Minister.
On Wednesday, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) questioned his personal staff.
The ED suspects Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram of owning several immovable properties and over 16 bank accounts in other countries, which they are trying to identify to trace the money trail.
Chidambaram and his son were named in the case by INX Media co-founders Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, who are currently in jail in Mumbai in connection with the murder of Indrani's daughter Sheena Bora.
On September 5, the Supreme Court had turned down his anticipatory bail plea against arrest by the Enforcement Directorate. The Enforcement Directorate claimed it has specific inputs from various sources, including overseas banks, and the department has received some response on the Letter Rogatory issued. Therefore, the investigating agency has to be given sufficient freedom in the process of investigation.
On August 21, amid high drama, former Union Minister P Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI from his Jorbagh residence in New Delhi.
Background of the case
The INX Media case relates to what the CBI has called ‘a monumental magnitude of money laundering.’ The case dates back to 2007 when INX Media applied for clearance with the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) on March 15 that year. P Chidambaram was the Union Minister of UPA I at the time. INX Media had sought this approval in order to operate and broadcast a bouquet of channels including Hindi entertainment channel, and multiple vernacular entertainment channels. According to the CBI, the Board in its meeting on 18 March, 2007 approved an FDI inflow of Rs 4.62 crore against INX Media. It did not, however, approve the downstream investment by INX Media in INX News.
The CBI alleges that in order to wiggle out of the situation without any punitive action, INX Media entered into a criminal conspiracy with P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram. Karti too stands accused of receiving kickbacks in exchange for his influence.