ED files PMLA case against Karti Chidambaram, others

ED files PMLA case against Karti Chidambaram, others

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) yesterday raided the premises of three friends of former union minister P. Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram and a chartered accountant in Chennai.

"We have registered a case against Karti Chidambaram under charges of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)", an ED official said.

INX Media, then helmed by Peter Mukerjea and his estranged wife Indrani, had received foreign direct investment of Rs 305 crore in 2007 without permission. According to the ED, Karti and a company controlled by him, Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt Ltd, have been issued showcause notices for FEMA violations of Rs 45 crore in the Vasan Healthcare case where the agency is probing several foreign companies for their alleged transactions with companies linked to Karti.

The CBI FIR alleged that FIPB had initially flagged INX's FDI inflow for irregularities and had sought clarification from the media house.

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While the ED did not clarify whether or not it would attach the assets of those named in the ECIR, the move comes as Karti Chidambaram left for London on Thursday night, while his office maintained that he had "gone on work and would be back by the end of May". It adds that FIPB approved its fresh proposal "by virtue of influence exercised over them by Karti P Chidambaram" after roping in a Karti-owned company for consultancy.

The CBI had filed an FIR against Karti and the Mukerjeas on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, receiving illegal gratification, influencing public servants and criminal misconduct.

The CBI has alleged that they recovered vouchers of Rs 10 lakh, which were allegedly paid for the services. FIPB approval was granted in "hundreds of cases", the senior Congress leader had said. "The company allegedly violated the conditions set by the FIPB and received investment to the tune of 26 per cent in the capital of INX News which included foreign investment", sources said.

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