New Delhi: Indrani Mukerjea, who once owned the television company at the heart of the CBI case against Karti Chidambaram, has told the Enforcement Directorate that she and Peter Mukerjea had met former Union Minister P Chidambaram to seek government approval to foreign investment proposals worth around Rs. 300 crore in the company INX Media.
- Indrani Mukerjea's statement links former finance minister to Karti case
- Indrani told ED that she and Peter Mukherjea had met P Chidambaram
- Former finance minister and his son have denied the allegations
Ms Mukerjea's statement, also made separately to the CBI and recorded before a magistrate, has linked the former Union Finance Minister to the CBI case filed against Karti Chidambaram, 46.
Karti Chidambaram, who was arrested on Wednesday morning, is accused of receiving kickbacks in 2007 to clear the foreign investment, using the influence of his father, who was then the Union finance minister. At the time, the company was owned by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea. The couple has been in jail on charges of murdering her daughter Sheena Bora since 2015.
NDTV has also accessed invoices that the investigating agencies said are proof of the payments made to Karti Chidambaram. Investigators said they got the invoices after they arrested Karti Chidambaram's chartered accountant two weeks ago.
The former Union Minister and his son have denied the allegations, calling it a case of "political vendetta" and pointing that it was Mr Chidambaram, who as Finance Minister in 2013, had first ordered a probe by the Serious Frauds Office into allegations against the INX Group.
Investigators told NDTV that Peter and Indrani Mukerjea had given statements to the Enforcement Directorate detailing their interactions with the former Union Minister and his son. Ms Mukerjea later, according to an official note, also "confirmed payment of 7,00,000 dollars" in her statement recorded before a magistrate.
In their statements, Indrani Mukerjea and Peter Mukerjea say they had met P Chidambaram in his office in the North Block. They allege he had asked them to help the business of Karti Chidambaram and to "make foreign remittances" for this purpose.
Subsequently, they met Karti Chidambaram at Delhi's Hyatt hotel, who allegedly demanded a payment of 1 million dollars. "It was further admitted that Karti Chidambaram suggested the names of Chess Management and Advantage Strategic as alternatives to make payments," a document accessed by NDTV read.
The CBI had filed a case against Karti Chidambaram last year, in which he has been accused of accepting bribes to the tune of 10 lakh.
In court on Wednesday, Karti Chidambaram's lawyer, Congress lawmaker Abhishek Manu Singhvi, said he was being targeted because he was the senior Congress leader's son.
Regarding the bribe allegation, Mr Singhvi said Karti Chidambaram was not a director or a shareholder of Advantage Strategic company, one of the companies through which the Mukerjeas had allegedly paid the bribe.