CBI raids Chidambaram, Indrani, Peter Mukherjea over FIPB approvals to INX Media

The Central Bureau of Investigation today raided the residences of former Union cabinet minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti as it probed charges of criminal misconduct in the grant of approvals by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board.

The agency named Karti Chidambaram and INX Media owners Indrani Mukerjea and Peter Mukerjea in its First Information Report for alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating and violations of the Prevention of Corruption Act in its FIR. The Mukerjeas, accused of murder in the sensational Sheena Bora case, are currently in jail.

Reports said the CBI also raided the Mukherjeas' residence in Mumbai.

"CBI has named Karti Chidambaram, INX Media (P) Ltd and its former Director Indrani Mukerjea, INX News (P) Ltd and its former Director Peter Mukerjea, M/s Chess Management Services (P) Ltd (owned by Karti Chidambaram), M/s Advantage Strategic Consulting (P) Ltd and its Director Ms Padma Vishwanathan and unknown officials of the finance ministry in its FIR for alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating and prevention of corruption act," the agency said in a statement.

The CBI said recommendations for an investment proposal of INX Media was approved by P Chidambaram when he was finance minister in the United Progressive Alliance government.

"INX Media, in order to wriggle out of the situation without any punitive action by the FIPB, entered into a criminal conspiracy with Karti Chidambaram, son of then finance minister P Chidambaram and promoter director of Chess Management, so as to get the issues resolved amicably by influencing the public servants of the FIPB unit of the ministry of finance by virtue of his relationship with the then finance minister," the CBI added.

P Chidambaram accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government of a political witch-hunt against his family.

"The government, using the CBI and other agencies, is targeting my son and his friends. The government's aim is to silence my voice and stop me from writing, as it has tried to do in the cases of leaders of Opposition parties, journalists, columnists, NGOs and civil society organizations," the Congress leader said, adding that he'd continue to speak and write.

He asserted that he had not violated any law in granting of FIPB approval to INX Media.

"Every case was processed according to law and approval was granted or refused in accordance with the recommendations of the FIBP consisting of five secretaries to the government of India," Chidambaram said.

At least 14 locations in Chidambaram's home city of Chennai were searched by the CBI.