Millennium Post

INX case: Govt grants sanction to prosecute ex-NITI Aayog CEO

INX case: Govt grants sanction to prosecute ex-NITI Aayog CEO

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation is now set to probe the role of four senior bureaucrats, who were working in the Finance Ministry during P Chidambaram's tenure, in connection with the INX Media case.

This comes as the government has granted the central agency sanction to prosecute former NITI Aayog CEO Sindhushree Khullar, former secretary in the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Anup K Pujari, Principal Secretary in Himachal government Prabodh Saxena and former undersecretary in the Department of Economic Affairs Rabindra Prasad.

After the Central government having given sanction to prosecute Chidambaram in the case in February this year, this now arms the agency to prosecute officials who were involved in the processing of the INX Media file, which according to the CBI was cleared in exchange for undue benefits to the then Finance Minister and his son Karti.

In fact, the CBI had confronted Chidambaram with both Khullar and Saxena, when he was held at the agency's headquarters for 15 days after his arrest.

While Khullar was the additional secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs between 2004 and 2008, Saxena was the director of the DEA between 2008 and 2010 and both Prasad and Pujari had served under the Chidambaram Finance

Ministry when the FIPB clearances were granted to INX Media.

While Indrani Mukerjea's statement of a meeting between herself, her husband Peter and Chidambaram is the basis on which the CBI sought sanction to prosecute the ex-FM and subsequently arrest him, Chidambaram has maintained that none of these four bureaucrats had said that he had instructed them to process the file in one way or the other.

The CBI's case in the INX Media probe is that the media company had arranged for a meeting with the then Finance Minister to get approvals from the Foreign Investments Promotion Board in

order to receive FDI in their company.

The agency has alleged that INX Media went on to pay significant amounts into companies allegedly controlled by Karti in exchange for favourable decisions from the FIPB, which allowed them to get FDI worth over Rs 300 crore in their firm.

The agency's case as of now is based on a statement given by Indrani, who is herself facing murder charges in the Sheena Bora case, which said that Chidambaram had allegedly assured both her and her husband of getting the requisite approvals and also asked them to help by investing in his son's company.

She had further claimed that Karti had asked for USD 1 million in an overseas account when Peter had met him in 2008 to resolve problems arising out of irregularities in the FIPB approval.

However, according to Enforcement Directorate documents, Karti had gone on to suggest two companies "Chess Management" and "Advantage Strategic" as alternatives, when Peter said the overseas transfer would not be possible.

Both Karti and Chidambaram have consistently denied any such meetings.

Team MP

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