Karti Chidambaram moved Rs 1.8cr to sr neta’s a/c: ED officials | India News – Times of India
NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate’s probe into the alleged money laundering case against Karti Chidambaram may have entered a volatile stretch with officials at the agency claiming that investigators have found details of him transferring Rs 1.8 crore into the bank account of an influential political figure.
ED officials conversant with the progress of the politically sensitive probe against the son of former finance minister P Chidambaram alleged that Karti transferred the money from his account in the Chennai branch of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).
They said the recipient has discharged very important responsibilities at the Centre in a career spanning decades, but declined to disclose his identity on the grounds that doing so could hamper their investigation.
The CBI arrested Karti + on February 28 from Chennai in connection with alleged payoffs received from INX Media promoted by Peter and Indrani Mukherjea . ED officials described discovery of the Royal Bank of Scotland transaction as a turning point in the probe.
They said the agency was considering summoning the political stalwart for an explanation on the transfer of money in five instalments between January 16, 2006 and September 23, 2009.
The ED is waiting for the CBI to finish its custodial interrogation of Karti + before moving in to seek his remand and question him, especially about the reason for the transactions and the business relations he had with the senior politician to whom the payments were made. “This is absolutely essential as we have testimonies of people who claim they paid money to Karti since he could fix things because of his connections,” an ED official said.
Karti allegedly made the transfers from his account (No.397990) in RBS’s Chennai branch into the account of the senior political leader, raising suspicions of a possible nexus between them. In their statements before the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, which is admissible as evidence in court, INX Media promoters Peter and Indrani-Mukerjea disclosed that they had paid close to $700,000 (Rs 3.1 crore) to Karti through subsidiaries abroad.
The Mukerjeas also claimed that these payments were quid pro quo ?for clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for foreign investments in their TV venture INX Media. The FIPB comes under the finance ministry, which was then headed by P Chidambaram.
The Mukerjeas had approached the FIPB for FDI approvals in March 2007 and received it within two months. The I-T department later found out that the promoters of the media group had Rs 305 crore in foreign investment when they had approvals for just Rs 4.6 crore.
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It was at this point that they, according to the statement recorded by the Mukerjeas before the ED, engaged Karti’s services for “regularising this matter” through his Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt Ltd (ASCPL).
The ED claimed that it recovered four invoices raised by ASCPL and its Singapore subsidiaries for $700,000 against INX Media. ED officials claim the transactions are in sync with the timeline delineated by the Mukerjeas of the payments they made to ASCPL after the “irregularities” were “fixed”.