PC, CBI spar in HC over his meeting with Indrani
Govt OK’s prosecution of ex-NITI CEO among 4 in INX Media case
Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram and the CBI were locked in a bitter slugfest on Friday in the Delhi High Court on denial by the former that he ever met Indrani Mukerjea in connection with the FIPB approval granted by the then Finance Ministry in the INX media case.
The Government has also issued sanction to the CBI to prosecute former NITI Aayog CEO Sindhushree Kullar and three other officers in connection with the FIPB clearance granted.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who represented the former FM, told the HC that there was no record of any meeting taking place between Chidambaram and Indrani in the Finance Ministry, but the CBI told the High Court there was evidence to establish that such a meeting did take place despite the fact that that the visitors’ logbook had been destroyed.
Objecting to Chidambaram’s bail petition, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the agency has got Hotel Oberoi’s taxi records that showed that Indrani and her husband visited Chidambaram at the Finance Ministry. However, Mehta did not disclose when was the tampering of visitors’ logbook happened. Justice Suresh Kait reserved order on bail plea of Chidambaram, jailed in the INX Media corruption case.
Opposing Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi’s argument, Mehta said Chidambaram is a very influential person and the agencies have found that he had tampered the visitors’ logbook in the Finance Ministry to sabotage the records of his meetings with approver Indrani and her husband. Mehta reiterated in the HC that Chidambaram should not be granted bail, citing his non-cooperation with agencies.
According to Indrani, she met Chidambaram in
2008 after she received prosecution notice from Income Tax for illegally bringing Rs 305 crore as FDI in INX media, while she had approval for foreign investment of only Rs 5 crore.
At present the trial court has put Chidambaram in judicial custody till October 3 and his release from Tihar jail will be decided after the Delhi High Court’s order, which was reserved on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Government has issued sanction to the CBI to prosecute former NITI Aayog CEO Sindhushree Kullar and three other officers in connection with the FIPB clearance to the INX Media. Other officers are former secretary of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Anup K Pujari, then Director in the Finance Ministry Prabodh Saxena, and former Under Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs Rabindra Prasad. The Government had sanctioned the prosecution of Chidambaram in February, the officials said.
Khullar served as Additional Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs during 2004 and 2008. Pujari was the Joint Secretary during 2006 and 2010; Saxena served as the Director of the department between 2008 and 2010, and Prasad also worked during the period under investigation, they said.
Saturday, 28 September 2019 | PNS | New Delhi
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