The Enforcement Directorate today arrested S Bhaskararaman, the Chartered Accountant of Karti Chidambaram, in connection with INX Media money laundering case and produced him before a Delhi court, which remanded him for five-day custodial interrogation.
Bhaskararaman was produced before Special Judge Sunil Rana after he was arrested by the agency, from a five-star hotel in the heart of the national capital, early this morning. The ED had sought 14-day custody of the CA.
ED, through its special public prosecutor Nitesh Rana, alleged that Bhaskararaman had failed to appear before it even after issuing of several summons and was not cooperating with the probe.
Karti's name had cropped up in the case which relates to Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval granted in 2007 for receipt of funds by INX Media when his father and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram was the Union Finance Minister during the previous UPA regime.
"During the course of investigation, it was revealed that Bhaskararaman, who is a qualified Chartered Accountant, has been assisting the accused Karti Chidambaram to manage his huge ill-gotten wealth in India and abroad," the agency claimed, adding that the statement of various witnesses have been recorded in the case.
The agency also said the investigation required the presence of Bhaskararaman for collecting vital evidence and other necessary information which is within his special knowledge and exclusive domain.
While seeking the remand of the CA, the ED alleged that INX Media had deliberately and in violation of the conditions of the approval made a downstream investment of 26 per cent in the capital of INX News Pvt Ltd. without specific approval of FIPB, which included indirect foreign investment by same foreign investors, and had generated Rs 305 crore foreign direct investment in INX Media Pvt Ltd. against the approved foreign inflow of Rs 4.62 crore.
To wriggle out of the situation without any punitive action, INX Media entered into a criminal conspiracy with Karti Chidambaram, it claimed.
The FIPB unit of Ministry of Finance not only granted the illegal approval but also misinformed the investigation wing of Income Tax Department, the ED alleged.
The ED said the CA's custody was required to ascertain the trail of various properties involved in money laundering, to identify movable and immovable properties, involved and to further ascertain the role of the accused and his other associates in the case.