In what could mean more trouble for former Finance Minister P Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram, Republic TV has exclusively accessed the statements of Indrani Mukerjea and Peter Mukerjea in the INX Media deal.
Indrani Mukerjea has told the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that Karti Chidambaram wanted $1 million transferred in an overseas account. Indrani admitted that she met P Chidambaram at his office chambers in North Block along with a top journalist who had fixed the meeting. Peter and Indrani had submitted an application to bring in FDI for their new venture. Indrani claims that after going through the application, P Chidambaram told Peter to help his son Karti in his business in lieu of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval.
“In 2008, they came to know about the alleged irregularities… Peter said that the alleged violations can be regularized with Karti Chidambaram’s help and advice as his father was then Finance Minister,” read Indrani Mukerjea’s statement to the ED.
THE MEETING WITH KARTI CHIDAMBARAM
Peter and Indrani Mukerjea met Karti Chidambaram in a hotel in Delhi. Karti demanded $1 million dollars to sort out the matter. Peter declined to do an overseas transfer but Karti suggested names of two companies — Chess Management and Advantage Strategic — as alternatives to make the desired payment. The companies would present themselves as consultants to INX Media Pvt Ltd. The payments were handled by Peter.
PETER MUKERJEA’S CONFESSION
Peter admitted that he met former Finance Minister P Chidambaram along with Indrani Mukerjea. “The meeting was to seek the Minister’s blessings,” said Peter Mukerjea to the ED. The blessing was required since they were about to launch a new media company with several channels and approvals for those would have been required before they could launch. “P Chidambaram had asked for his son’s business interests to be kept in mind, if any opportunity arose, and for making overseas payments,” said Peter Mukherjea. Peter paid the money to Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt Ltd. “The amount of Rs 10 lakh paid to ASCPL by INX media was part of $1 million demanded by Karti Chidambaram.” Four invoices were raised:
i. Geben Trading Ltd., Greece dated 26.9.2008 for USD 500,000 payable at Geneva Switzerland.
ii. Northstar software Solutions Pvt. Ltd. dated 26.9.2008 for Rs. 60 lakh.
iii. ASCPL dated 22.9.2008 for Rs. 35 lakh.
iv. Advantage Strategic Consulting Singapore Pte. Ltd. dated 24.9.2008 for USD 20,000.
Republic TV has also accessed the statement of Karti Chidambaram. It clearly comes across that Karti Chidambaram is trying to distance himself from Advantage Strategic Pvt Ltd. Sources within the agency say that this was being done in order to insulate himself from the charges that have been levelled against him.