Centre Allows CBI To Prosecute Ex-NITI Aayog CEO, 3 Others In INX Case

INX Media case: The four former officers of the Finance Ministry include Sindhushree Khullar, who later became chief executive of the centre's think tank NITI Aayog

INX Media case: Sindhushree Khullar was the CEO of the centre's think tank NITI Aayog

New Delhi:

The government has given the green light to prosecute four former senior officers of the Finance Ministry, along with Congress leader P Chidambaram, sources said, for alleged wrongdoing in clearing foreign investments for a media firm in 2007, now known as the INX Media case.

In January, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) approached the government seeking permission to prosecute the former Union finance minister, who is currently in Delhi's Tihar jail; former additional secretary of finance Sindhushree Khullar, who later became chief executive of the centre's think tank NITI Aayog; former joint secretary of finance Anup Pujari, former finance ministry director Prabodh Saxena, and former undersecretary Rabindra Prasad.

Though the government in February granted sanction against Mr Chidambaram to procced, it had withheld the sanctions against the four former officers who have worked in the Finance Ministry when the United Progressive Alliance government was in power.

The Central Vigilance Commission that supervises the CBI in anti-corruption cases had written to the government in June to allow the probe agency to prosecute the four officers.

The CBI received the go-ahead from the finance and personnel ministries in the second week of September to move against the four officers in the INX Media case, sources in the CBI have told NDTV.

They said the four officers who worked under Mr Chidambaram will be named in a chargesheet in October as accused in the INX Media case. The four were brought face-to-face with Mr Chidambaram during questioning when the former Union minister was in the CBI's custody last month.

The law requires that the probe agency takes permission from the government to prosecute the former officers for alleged wrongdoing.

Except for the four former Finance Ministry officers, no member of the then Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), then headed by Subba Rao, who later become Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, will be named in the chargesheet, CBI sources have told NDTV. The FIPB was later renamed as Foreign Investment Facilitation Portal (FIFP) by the National Democratic Alliance government during its first term in June 2017.

Mr Chidambaram, who has been in jail since September 5, is accused of allowing a huge infusion of foreign funds into INX Media. His son Karti Chidambaram is accused of receiving kickbacks for facilitating the process.