Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, who was arrested by the CBI on Wednesday, has faced 20 key questions posed by the agency about his involvement in the money laundering and corruption related to the INX Media case.
1. What is the source of income of your properties abroad?
2. Where did money come from for purchase of properties in UK, Spain and Malaysia?
3. Where did money come from for purchase of Barcelona Tennis Club?
4. Why did Karti receive money from British Virgin Island?
5. Where did you or Karti invest the money got as bribe for INX deal?
6. We have evidence of your foreign based shell companies. What is will you say on it?
7. How many shell companies belong to you and Karti?
8. What was the business or in which sectors these shell companies were dealing?
9. The Financial Intelligence Unit has raised queries over FDI investment of over Rs 305 crore made by three Mauritius-based companies in INX Media Pvt Ltd, then owned by Peter Mukherjea and his former wife Indrani Mukerjea. What would you speak on it?
10. Did your son influence various departments of FIPB?
11. How did you approve in your capacity as Finance Minister allowing your son Karti flouting all foreign investment rule in INX media deal?
12. Why did you meet Indrani Mukerjea at north block?
13. Had you asked Indrani to keep in touch with Karti?
14. Had you met with Peter Mukerjea too?
15. Who are other officers in north block involved in giving clearance to INX Media at your behest?
16. Why didn’t you turn up despite being served notice?
17. Where had you been since Delhi High Court turned down anticipatory bail plea till yesterday evening and whom did you meet during this time and where?
18. Your mobile phone was switched off during this period. Which no did you use?
19. Why did you leave your driver and clerk on the way back from Supreme Court yesterday (Tuesday) if your intention was not to evade arrest?
20. Why didn’t you appear even after CBI notice?
After a dramatic sequence of events that unfolded on Wednesday after 8 p.m., which culminated into Chidambaram’s, he spent an almost sleepless night at the agency headquarters as the questioning began just after midnight.
Officials close to the investigation, requesting anonymity, said that Chidambaram’s formal questioning started jsut after 12 a.m. on Thursday with CBI Director Rishi Kumar Shukla himself present in the headquarters along with all top agency officials.
Most of Chidambaram’s answer have been “ambiguous”, many not “clear” and some “unanswerable”.
The 73-year-old was first offered food by the CBI, which he refused, following which the crucial questioning began — the list had 20 questions related to the case that included his meeting with Indrani Mukerjea, co-founder of INX Media.
Indrani, currently in jail for allegedly murdering her daughter Sheena Bora, has turned approver in the case and the case against Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram has been built on her statement, said sources.
It is learnt that Mukerjea has told the Enforcement Directorate that Chidambaram instructed them to help Karti in his businesses in exchange for the approval for foreign investment to INX Media.
She is reportedly has informed the agency that the names of two firms — ‘Chess Management’ and ‘Advantage Strategic’ — were discussed as possible conduits for payments to Karti in return for regularizing alleged irregularities in foreign investment to INX media, the source said.
The case relates to an FIR registered by the CBI on May 15, 2017 over alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance provided to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007, when Chidambaram was the Union Finance Minister.
The ED had lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2018.
The Enforcement Directorate and the CBI are probing how Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram managed to get FIPB clearance in 2007 when his father was the Finance Minister.
Karti was arrested on February 28, 2018 by the CBI for allegedly accepting money to facilitate the FIPB clearance to INX Media. He was later granted bail.
His chartered accountant, S.Bhaskararaman, was also arrested and released on bail later.