Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, who has been in CBI custody for last 55 days, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate after two-hour-long grilling on Wednesday. News Nation has learnt that the arrest was only on papers as there is no order of custodial transfer of Chidambaram from the CBI to the ED. The ED has filed a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to probe alleged irregularities in the grant of FIPB approval to the INX Media group. The development came a day after the court also allowed the ED to arrest Chidambaram, if necessary.
In the INX Media case, the CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to the media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram's tenure as the finance minister. Thereafter, the ED lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2017. Chidambaram had approached the Supreme Court seeking bail in the INX Media case lodged by CBI after the Delhi High Court on September 30, denied him the relief. He had not filed the bail plea before the trial court.
Previously, News Nation accessed a confidential report of the Enforcement Directorate that reveals details of P Chidambaram’s meeting with then INX Media owners Peter Mukerjea and Indrani Mukerjea. The report which carried crucial details of a payment made to Advantage Strategic Consultancy, a firm linked to P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram. The details of the payment were revealed by ED’s Joint Director Rajeshwar Singh in a letter sent to CBI on December 16, 2016. In the letter, it was told that a cheque of Rs 9,96,296 was given to Advantage Strategic Consultancy on the directions of Chase Management Services.
The cheque (002914) was issued on July 15, 2007. This was the time when INX Media was trying to get Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance and the Mukerjea couple had met then finance minister P Chidambaram, seeking his intervention in the matter. INX Media’s managing director and CFO had given written statements to the ED in which they admitted that the money was paid to the consultancy for the FIPB clearance. News Nation has the copy of their statements.