Chidambaram tampered with the visitors logbook of the Finance Ministry, accuses CBI in Delhi High Court
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta makes damning charges against former Finance Minister and provides proof of Chidambaram's meeting with Indrani and Peter Mukherjea
The CBI has made incriminating charges against former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram in the INX Media corruption case. ON 27th September, appearing on behalf of the CBI and government, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Delhi High Court that Chidambaram had tampered with the visitors’ logbook in Finance Ministry. This came after the advocates appearing for Chidambaram claimed that there were no records of him meeting with Indrani Mukerjea, reports PGurus
. Solicitor General also said that the CBI got Hotel Oberoi’s tax records which establish that Indrani and her husband visited Chidambaram at the Finance Ministry.
The Logbook contained the entries regarding the entry and exit of the visitors to the office of the then Finance Minister. The logbook which was a prime evidence of the meeting between Chidambaram and the INX Media promoters has been tampered to edit out the entry of the Mukherjea's meeting with the former FM in his office, the CBI has alleged. Lawyers Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi appearing for Chidambaram had claimed that the former FM never met the Mukherjea's as there was no entry in the logbook for the same.
However, Indrani Mukherjea who has turned as an approver in the INX Media case, has on record stated that she had met Chidambaram in his office in North Block in 2008 along with her husban Peter, after she received prosecution notice from Income Tax for illegally bringing Rs.305 crores as FDI, while INX Media had an approval for Rs.5 crores only. She has also alleged that Chidambaram had asked them to help his son Karti with his business and make “overseas remittances” if they wish to get the FIPB approval. Subsequently, the clearance from the FIPB bureaucrats came swiftly as they had complied with Chidambaram's request to help his son Karti.
Though the Solicitor General reiterated that Chidambaram should not be granted bail as he was not cooperating with the investigating agencies. Since it was found that the logbook was also tampered with, he should be further probed by the agencies, he said.
4 officers to be prosecuted in the INX Media case
The Government has given a sanction to the CBI to prosecute former NITI Aayog CEO Sindhushree Khullar and three officers in connection with the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to INX Media. Other officers are former Secretary of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Anup K Pujari, the then director in the Finance Ministry Prabodh Saxena, and former under-secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs Rabindra Prasad.
Khullar had served as additional secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs during 2004 and 2008. Pujari was the joint secretary between 2006 and 2010; Saxena served as the director of the department between 2008 and 2010, and Prasad also worked during the period under investigation.
The CBI had sought prosecution sanction against the four officers on January 22. Chidambaram during questioning had shrugged off the allegations of any wrong doing and undue favors in the INX Media case and had blamed the bureaucrats for allowing INX Media to breach the FDI cap. But Sindhushree Khullar during interrogation told the CBI that she was merely following orders while favoring INX Media.