Chidambaram answered 400 questions in CBI custody
New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram, who was arrested by the CBI on August 21 and was in the agency’s custody for several days, was confronted by four to five persons and answered more than 400 questions related to the INX Media case and the FIPB approvals given during his term as the Union Finance Minister, agency sources said.
The Supreme Court on Thursday sent Chidambaram to 14 days’ judicial custody in the INX Media case. He is presently lodged in jail number-7 of Tihar Jail, which is meant for economic offenders.
A top CBI source connected to the INX Media case probe told IANS, “Chidambaram was confronted with four to five witnesses and accused in the case.” However, he refused to share the names as it can impact the probe into the case.
The source also said that Chidambaram answered over 400 questions during his custody since August 21.
The source pointed out that most of the questions put in front of Chidambaram were related to the links of his son Karti Chidambaram with the Chess Management Pvt Ltd and the Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt Ltd (ASCPL) and their dealings with Indrani Mukerjea and Peter Mukerjea, the co-founders of INX Media.
The source said that on many occasions, Chidambaram tried to kill time by taking hours to respond to the questions related to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approvals given to the INX Media group during his tenure as the Finance Minister for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore.
Last year, Indrani Mukherjea in her statement to the CBI had alleged that Karti Chidambaram received Rs 3.5 crore in kickbacks from INX Media for securing FIPB clearance in 2007.
She had also said that Karti Chidambaram had met her at a hotel in New Delhi and allegedly demanded $1 million (Rs 6.5 crore) for the FIPB clearances.
The CBI had earlier said that as part of that plan, Indrani and her husband Peter Mukherjea engaged Karti Chidambaram’s company ASCPL.
The CBI had said that as part of the alleged quid pro quo, ASCPL and its associated companies raised four invoices of Rs 3.10 crore on INX Media, which were reimbursed. The FIPB clearance was given soon after that.
The CBI had also said that in March 2007, INX Media breached the condition on which it had been allowed by the FIPB to raise 46 per cent equity through the issuance of shares against the permission to raise Rs 4.62 crore by issuing shares at face value. But the company got Rs 305 crore by issuing shares at a premium, CBI officials had said.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which has also registered a case of money laundering against Chidambaram on the basis of the CBI FIR, has accused the former Finance Minister of holding several bank accounts and properties abroad.
Last month, the CBI sent letters of request to the UK, Switzerland, Bermuda, Mauritius and Singapore, seeking details of the properties and bank accounts held by Chidambaram and his son.