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Wednesday 8 April 2020

INX media: ED summons ex-FinMin officials; to question Peter Mukerjea

Indrani, they said, had confirmed in her statement to the CBI and ED that a payment of $7 lakh was made to the bank accounts of overseas firms linked to Karti

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New Delhi: The ED has summoned some ex-Finance Ministry officials, who were handling FIPB issues in 2007, in connection with its money laundering probe in the INX media deal case that involves former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti and others, officials today said.

They said summons for questioning have been issued to at least four officials and once they depose, their statements will be recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

While some of these officials have been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the past for questioning in the Aircel-Maxis FIPB case, some will be questioned afresh in connection with the INX case.

The officials, in various ranks, were posted in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) of the Finance Ministry in 2007 when the INX media came before the said division, they said.

The agency will also question Peter Mukerjea, former director of the media group, again at a Mumbai jail tomorrow in connection with the case.

Peter Mukherjea is in prison in connection with the Sheena Bora murder case and has been questioned by the ED last year.

The agency is also probing the transfer of about Rs 1.8 crore, in multiple tranches, from a Chennai bank account, allegedly belonging to Karti, to a senior political leader connected to him, they said.

The funds, they said, were allegedly transferred to Karti’s account from a firm that the probe agencies have said was “indirectly controlled” by him.

Karti, arrested by the CBI in this case, was yesterday confronted by the sleuths with Peter’s wife Indrani Mukerjea in a Mumbai jail.

Indrani had also been a director of the media company under the scanner.

Karti was arrested by the CBI last week on the basis of confessional statements of Peter and Indrani who alleged that they paid $7 lakh to him on the instructions of his father P Chidambaram, as quid pro quo for an FIPB clearance, officials had said.

Both Peter and Indrani had alleged, in their statements to the ED, that they met the then finance minister P Chidambaram at his North Block office, seeking clearance for foreign investments in their media company after the Income Tax department detected irregularities in these instances, in 2007.

The couple had also admitted that they subsequently met Karti at a five-star hotel in Delhi, where he allegedly made a demand of $1 million, they said, adding that this was reiterated by Indrani before the magistrate as well.

Indrani, they said, had confirmed in her statement to the CBI and ED that a payment of $7 lakh was made to the bank accounts of overseas firms linked to Karti.

Peter and Indrani, facing trial for allegedly killing their daughter Sheena Bora, had said in their statement that Karti “suggested” to them the names of firms such as Chess Management and Advantage Strategic for the payments.

PTI

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