Karti got money to scuttle probe against INX Media: CBI

New Delhi: INX Media violated rules of the FIPB by getting more FDI than the permissible limit and when the violation attracted a probe by the income-tax department, it knocked on the doors of Karti Chidambaram who used his influence in the Union finance ministry then headed by his father to scuttle it, the CBI says in its FIR.

In turn for the favour, INX Media transferred money to several companies, directly or indirectly controlled by Mr Karti, the agency alleged. In the FIR registered on Monday evening, the CBI has charged Karti, Indrani Mukerjea, Peter Mukerjea, Chess Management Services and Advantage Strategic Consulting Limited through its director Padma Vishwanathan with criminal conspiracy, cheating, receiving illegal gratification, influencing public servants and criminal misconduct.

The CBI says Karti dir-ectly owns Chess Management Services, while he indirectly controls Advantage Strategic Consulting Limited. “INX Media clearly states in its records that Rs 10 lakh was given to Advantage Strategic Consulting (P) Limited, for management consultancy charged towards FIPB notification and clarification,” the FIR said.

When the proposal was submitted by INX Media for FIPB approval in 2007, the finance minister allowed the investment with a clear condition that only `4.62 crore could be received for investment in the company. The company allegedly violated the conditions set by the FIPB and received investment to the tune of 26 per cent in the capital of INX News, which included foreign investment, the FIR says.

“It allegedly generated more than Rs 305 crore of FDI in INX Media against the approved inflow of Rs 4.62 crore by issuing shares to foreign investors at a premium of more than Rs 800 per share. The violation prompted an income-tax department probe. INX Media claimed that the investment was done as per FIPB conditions,” the FIR said, adding that this is when INX Media approached Mr Karti.

The FIR goes on to indict unnamed officials saying that they not only ignored serious illegalities on the part of INX Media but also showed undue favours by abusing their official position and advised the company to file for fresh clearance with the FIPB.

Though the FIR names Karti and claims that he exerted his influence on finance ministry officials, it does not identify the officials of either the FIPB or the ministry or list them as accused.

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