Former INX Media promoter Indrani Mukerjea in a video telecast by a news channel on Monday night has admitted that her company paid one million US dollars to former finance minister P. Chidambaram's son Karti's companies in order to secure FIPB approvals for foreign investment. In the video, Indrani, who is currently in Byculla jail, clearly admitted that the then finance minister had helped her INX Media company, and she and her husband Peter had met Chidambaram in North Block. Indrani has made this confession in her statement before a magistrate under Section 164 of Criminal Procedure Code. Based on this confession, CBI sleuths took Karti Chidambaram to Mumbai jail last weekend for a face-to-face interrogation with the Mukerjea couple in jail.
Meanwhile, Enforcement Directorate in its report has revealed how Chidambaram, as the then finance minister, cleared several thousands of crores of rupees worth FIPB approvals for Aircel-Maxis. On Monday, Chidambaram refused to reply to queries from reporters, and briefly said that he does not need to reply, as all the answers are there in the government files.
This was in response to the charges levelled against him by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in the INX Media and Aircel-Maxis cases. The CAG report also supports these charges. The Law Minister sought answers from Chidambaram, Rahul Gandhi and Manmohan Singh, but it is surprising that the Congress official spokesperson chose not to respond. Such silence can harm the Congress, and one can only expect that Chidambaram will reply, sooner rather than later.
In the last two weeks, when the Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi bank frauds came to light, the Congress leaders went to town asking how these cheats were allowed to flee the country, but when Karti Chidambaram was arrested by CBI, and details relating to P. Chidambaram came to light, the Congress appeared to be on the defensive. The Congress reaction was that this was a strategy to divert public attention from Nirav Modi case. Now that the documents and statements are appearing in public, it seems that Chidambaram could become the cause of major worry for the Congress. It is now the Congress which has to reply.
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