ED attaches Karti’s assets worth ₹54 crore in INX Media case
A bizarre and outlandish attachment order, which is not based on law or facts but on crazy conjectures: Karti
New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday attached assets of Karti Chidambaram worth ₹54 crore under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the ongoing probe in the INX Media case.
The ED said that it had attached assets of “Karti P. Chidambaram and his company Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt. Ltd (ASCPL) in the INX Media case. The assets include immovable properties in India, UK and Spain apart from deposits in banks.”
Karti Chidambaram, businessman and son of former Union minister P. Chidambaram, has been accused of having received ₹10 lakh in kickbacks in 2007 to clear foreign investment worth ₹305 crore for INX Media, which was owned by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, at a time when P. Chidambaram was finance minister under the first United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
INX Media is being probed by both the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and ED over allegations that Karti Chidambaram had received kickbacks from the media house.
The ED has put P. Chidambaram in the dock by also alleging that its investigations have found that both Peter and Indrani Mukerjea had met the former minister to clear the loopholes in their Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval.
“Investigation conducted by the directorate so far shows that for FIPB approval, Peter and Indrani Mukerjea met finance minister P. Chidambaram so that there was no hold up in their application. P. Chidambaram asked for his son’s business interests to be kept in mind. ED has identified payments of ₹3.09 crore by Peter Mukerjea to ASCPL and associated entities controlled by Karti P. Chidambaram through manipulated debit notes,” the ED said.
P. Chidambaram did not respond to Mint’s messages seeking a response, but Karti Chidambaram took to Twitter to contest the investigation agency’s action.
“A bizarre and outlandish provisional attachment order, which is not based on law or facts but on crazy conjectures. This is meant only to grab headlines. The order will not withstand judicial scrutiny, review or appeal. Will approach the appropriate legal forum (sic),” Karti Chidambaram said on Twitter.
The agency has also asserted that money received by Karti Chidambaram’s associated entities was channelled back into ASCPL, adding that the funds received by ASCPL had been invested after ASCPL purchased shares of Vasan Health Care.
“A part of these shares were sold at a profit of nearly ₹41 crore. ASCPL also earned ₹18.49 crore from sale of shares in another company for an amount of ₹29.49 crore. These funds arising from sale of laundered property are also assets involved in money laundering. Therefore, assets and properties belonging to him and ASCPL were attached in lieu of proceeds of crime,” the ED said.
On Monday, the Patiala House court had also extended the interim protection from arrest granted to P. Chidambaram and Karti till 1 November in connection with the Aircel-Maxis cases filed by the CBI and the ED.
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