Taking cognisance of a recent CBI FIR against Karti Chidambaram, son of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram and others, a money laundering case has been registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
An Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), ED’s equivalent of a police FIR, against the accused named in the CBI complaint including Karti, INX media and its directors, Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, and others has been registered by the central probe agency, said the officials.
The officials said, under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the ECIR has been registered. They said the ED will investigate the alleged “proceeds of crime” generated in this case and may also attach assets of the various accused. The CBI had filed its FIR, based on the information provided by the ED, about the alleged payments made by INX Media.
On Tuesday, the CBI had carried out searches at the residences and offices of Karti across four cities for allegedly receiving money from the media firm owned by the Mukerjeas to scamper a tax investigation. However, the Chidambarams have denied all the charges made against them.
An FIR has been filed against Karti and the Mukerjeas by the CBI, on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, receiving illegal gratification, influencing public servants and criminal misconduct. It is alleged that Karti received money from INX Media for using his influence to manipulate a tax probe against it in a case of violation of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) conditions to receive investment from Mauritius. The CBI had alleged that it had also recovered vouchers of Rs 10 lakh which were allegedly paid for the services. These vouchers were issued in favour of Advantage Strategic Consulting (P) Limited, a firm “indirectly” owned by Karti.
After the CBI searches on May 16, the former finance minister had issued a strong statement in response to the raids saying that the government was using the CBI and other agencies to target his son. The senior Congress leader had said that, the FIPB approval was granted in “hundreds of cases”.