After CBI, ED to file case under PMLA against Karti Chidambaram, INX Media

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New Delhi: After the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is set to file a case against former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram and INX Media.

According to a report in the Indian Express, the ED case will be registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for alleged irregularities in grant of Foreign Investment Proposal Board (FIPB) approval to INX Media for foreign investment.

“We have received the CBI FIR and a case of money laundering will soon be registered,” a senior ED official was quoted as saying. ED can then also attach assets in the case, said the report.

ED had sent notices to 19 firms, besides INX Media, that allegedly did business with Karti Chidambaram’s two companies – Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited (ASCPL) and Chess Management Services.

According to another report in The Indian Express, after the raids in December 2015, the ED had sent summons to Essar Steel Limited, VST Tillers Tractors, Diageo Scotland Limited, and the Katra Group under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). These firms had allegedly made payments to Karti’s two firms during their Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) applications or clearances.

One of the 19 firms appeared before the ED, but could not provide details of the services Karti’s two firms offered.

ASCPL and Chess Management Services sent invoices for professional services,” or “consultancy work”, and according to ASCPL Director’s testimony to the ED, the company would receive instructions, stating which companies to send the invoices to. ED officials said that the ASCPL Director had admitted that the company barely provided any services.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had on Tuesday raided houses and other premises of former finance minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti over alleged favours granted in foreign investment clearance to INX Media in 2007.

The searches were spread across Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, and Gurugram. The raids took place at the Nungambakkam residence of P Chidambaram in Chennai, a senior police official said in Chennai.

The investigating agency had filed an FIR on Tuesday evening against Karti on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, receiving illegal gratification, influencing public servants and criminal misconduct.

It is alleged that Karti received money from INX Media for using his influence to manipulate a tax probe against it in a case of violation of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) conditions to receive investment from Mauritius.

His father issued a strong statement in response to say that the government was using the CBI and other agencies to target his son.

FIPB approval was granted in “hundreds of cases”, the senior Congress leader said.

“The government, using the CBI and other agencies, is targeting my son and his friends…The government’s aim is to silence my voice and stop me from writing, as it has tried to do in the cases of leaders of opposition parties, journalists, columnists, NGOs and civil society organisations,” he said.

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