In a new development, a Delhi court on Wednesday granted bail to six secretaries, who were part of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) panel which granted approval to INX Media, in a corruption case being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The INX Media case which also involves former Union Minister P Chidambaram, includes Jeet Kumar Dungdung, the then Section Officer; Rabindra Prasad, then Under Secretary; Prabodh Saxena, Director, FIPB unit of Finance Ministry; Pradeep Kumar Bagga, then Officer on Special Duty; Anup K Pujari, the then Joint Secretary, and Sindhushree Khullar, Additional Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs.
The CBI had filed the charge sheet against 14 accused -P. Chidambaram, his son Karti Chidambaram, his accountant S. Bhaskaran, former INX Media director Peter Mukerjea, INX Media, INX News, Chess Management Services, ASCPL, and these six bureaucrats. The accused have been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including for criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and for taking gratification and criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
All the six bureaucrats are currently on interim bail. However, P. Chidambaram and his son were already out on bail in the case. Special CBI judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar granted them bail on a bond of Rs 2 lakh and instructed them not to leave the country without taking prior permission. They have also been asked not to tamper with the evidence.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Delhi court had directed the CBI to hand over to P Chidambaram and his son Karti certain documents filed along with the charge sheet in the INX Media corruption case. The court was also hearing the money laundering case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to INX Media for foreign funds of Rs. 305 crore during Congress leader P Chidambaram’s tenure as Finance Minister.
According to the CBI, the Mukerjea couple, who were the owners and founders of INX Media had swung a deal in their favour to secure the FIPB clearance. Indrani turned approver in the case and gave a confessional statement to a magistrate under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). Indrani Mukerjea has alleged that money had exchanged hands, benefiting one of Karti Chidambaram’s companies in lieu of the FIPB approval.
CBI had registered its case on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in a Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram's tenure as finance minister. Thereafter, ED had lodged a money laundering case.
(Image Credits: PTI)