Polity

The arrest of Chidambaram and the INX case

In News
Recently, former Finance Minister and a senior Congress Party leader, P. Chidambaram, got arrested by the CBI and the ED officials on 21st August 2019 amid much hype and drama.

He was taken to CBI headquarters for questioning in the INX media case.

Events before the arrest
After the Delhi High court rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Mr. Chidambaram, the Supreme Court too refused the urgent hearing of an appeal against the dismissal of his anticipatory bail plea.

A lookout notice was also issued against the former Finance Minister.

In a brief media address, Mr. Chidambaram defended himself stating no charge sheet or FIR were filed against him in the INX media case.

Look Out Notice/Circular
Lookout circular is a circular letter used by authorities to check whether a traveling person is wanted by the police. It may be used at immigration checks at international borders (like International airports or seaports).

In India, LOC has a given Performa which have identification parameters of criminals and help police to catch absconding criminals and stopping them from crossing borders.

What is the INX media case about?
The case relates to irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance provided to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs. 305 crore in 2007 when Mr. Chidambaram was the Finance Minister.

On May 15 the CBI filed an FIR alleging irregularities in the clearance granted by the FIPB to INX Media.

More details on the case
INX Media (now 9X Media) was a venture promoted by Peter Mukerjea and his wife Indrani, both of whom are currently in jail in connection with the Sheena Bora murder case.

In 2007 the company INX media sought FIPB clearance to broadcast a number of channels, for which, according to the CBI, FIPB approved an FDI of Rs. 4.62 crore but did not allow downstream investment.

INX media went ahead with downstream investment in INX News and generated Rs. 305 crore in foreign investment and invested 26 percent equity in INX News- all in violation of the FIPB approvals.

P Chidambaram involvement in the case
•Indrani Mukerjea in one of her statements to the CBI, said to have claimed that the company had bribed Mr. Karti Chidambaram (son of P Chidambaram- the then FM), to quash the possible FIPB probe.

•Indrani’s statement also got recorded before a magistrate hence admissible as evidence. She moved an application seeking pardon and promising to help in the probe.

•P Chidambaram being the Finance minister at the time is alleged to have direct involvement in the case, as his son’s involvement led to Finance Ministry ignoring the ‘serious illegalities’ committed by INX Media ‘by abusing their official position’.

Delhi High Court rejected the bail plea
The Delhi High Court had rejected Chidambaram’s anticipatory bail, naming him the ‘kingpin, i.e. key conspirator’ in the INX Media case. The high court observed that:

Prima facie, the “petitioner appears to be the kingpin of the entire scam” and has not cooperated with the investigation. “Magnitude and enormity of material produced dis-entitle him from any pre-arrest bail."

Further, “Investigating agencies hand cannot be tied up in such a massive economic offence.”

Chain of events in a picture
The arrest of Chidambaram and the INX case
Further Developments in the case
P Chidambaram will be in CBI custody for four more days, till August 30th, a Delhi court ordered

The CBI had asked a special court for more custody alleging that Chidambaram has been "uncooperative".

The Supreme Court refused to take up his request for protection from arrest by the CBI, saying it was "infructuous" after his arrest.




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