P Chidambaram might be quizzed in INX Media bribery case


New Delhi, March 2: Former finance minister P Chidambaram might be questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the INX Media bribery case.
On Thursday, a Delhi court extended the police custody of Chidambaram’s son, Karti, by five days giving the authorities more time to probe the case.
According to The New Indian Express, the CBI is planning to summon P Chidambaram to the agency’s headquarters in New Delhi.
“Although he is not named as an accused, his role in the grant of irregular FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) clearance to INX Media is part of the FIR,” TNIE quoted a senior CBI official as saying.
The development comes after as CBI Judge Sunil Rana gave the order to extend Karti’s custody after three hours of heated arguments between Karti’s lawyer and the CBI counsel.
The CBI pleaded for 14 days custody, saying Karti needed to be questioned thoroughly in “a serious finance corruption case” which is not a political witch hunt or vendetta.
“In view of the submissions made and the fact that the matter is at the initial stage of investigation, which is a very crucial stage and further as per the case diary and day-to-day report of the investigation, the claim of the CBI is based on the ground that there is a prima facie material showing the involvement of the accused and it requires further investigation,” the judge said in his nine-page order.
“In view of the facts and circumstances of the case, I am of the view that the police custody of the accused is necessary to confront the accused with documents, co-accused and to unearth the larger conspiracy and role of other accused persons involved in this case.”
Hours after Karti was sent to custody till March 6, Chidambaram reportedly told his son, “Don’t worry, I am there.”
The statement came while the senior Congress leader met his son in the CBI court where he was brought for extension of custody on Thursday in the INX Media alleged bribery case.
The Judge permitted the parents to talk to Karti in the presence of the investigating officer during the brief break before passing the order.
The Judge disallowed Karti’s request for home-cooked food but allowed medicines and a health check-up.
Karti was produced before the court on expiry of one-day CBI custody. He was arrested by the CBI from Chennai airport on Wednesday on his return from abroad.
The arrest came nine months after the CBI registered an FIR against him on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, accepting gratification by corrupt or illegal means, influencing public servants and criminal misconduct.
He is accused of receiving Rs 3.5 crore from the Mumbai-based INX Media, now known as 9X Media, for helping it get Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance in 2007 when it was run by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, both accused in the Sheena Bora murder case.
The FIR does not mention Chidambaram senior, though it said he cleared the FIPB approval for Rs 4.62 crore FDI in the firm at an FIPB meeting on May 18, 2007.(Agencies.)