In a major development in the INX Media case, all the six bureaucrats who worked with former Finance Minister P Chidambaram are scheduled to appear before a special court on Friday as the court had issued summons to them along with other accused.
The summons were issued to them by special CBI court judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar while taking the cognizance of the charge-sheet filed by the CBI against 14 accused Chidambaram, Karti Chidambaram, his accountant S Bhaskaran, INX Media, its former director Peter Mukerjea, Chess Management Services Private Limited, ASCPL and six bureaucrats.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had also told the court at the Rouse Avenue Complex that it has necessary sanctions to prosecute all the accused including the public servants in the INX Media case. The CBI had, in its preliminary investigations, further told the court that out of the 14 accused mentioned in the charge sheet, four are companies, six are public servants and rest are the private person.
The charge-sheet has been filed against INX Media Pvt Limited, presently 9X Media Private Limited, lNX News Pvt Limited, presently Direct News; Karti P Chidambaram, son of P Chidambaram; Chess Management Services Pvt LTD; Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt LTD; Ajeet Kumar Dungdung, the then section officer of FIPB Unit, Ministry of Finance; Rabindra Prasad, the then Under Secretary FIPB Unit, Ministry of Finance; Pradeep Kumar Bagga, the then OSD, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance; Prabodh Saxena, Director, FIPB Unit, Finance Ministry; Anup K Pujari, the then Joint Secretary (Foreign Trade) DEA; Sindhushree Khullar, the then Additional Secretary, DEA; S Bhaskararaman, Chartered Accountant, Peter (Pratim) Mukherjea, the then director INX Media Limited, and P Chidambaram, then Finance Minister.
According to the CBI, the accused have been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including for the criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and for taking gratification and criminal misconduct of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act. In a turn of events, however, Indrani Mukerjea, the former INX Media director, has been pardoned after she turned approver in the case and her name was not mentioned in the charge sheet as an accused. Presently, P Chidambaram, Karti Chidambaram, Peter Mukerjea are on bail while Bhaskaran is on anticipatory bail. Moreover, the CBI mentioned that the rest of the accused who were public servants were never arrested in connection with the case.
CBI further informed the court that initially, approval was given and various complaints were received with respect to the irregularities committed by INX Media. It further mentioned that communication was then sent to INX Media to clarify its stand.
"Instead of answering it, INX Media sent the letter to Chest Management to prepare a reply. This 'dubious reply' was sent to the FIPB in pursuance of a conspiracy and stand of each and every person changed subsequently," CBI's counsel told the court. The agency also handed over certain information in a sealed envelope to the court but refused to tell about its content.
For the uninitiated, in August this year, P Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI for alleged irregularities in the FIPB clearance given to INX Media to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when he was the Finance Minister.