CBI grills Karti Chidambaram for 8 hours in INX case

Karti Chidambaram, son of former cabinet minister P Chidambaram, was questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation for more than eight hours in connection with a case of alleged corruption, reportedly facing a list of some 100 questions. He is likely to be examined again on 28 August.

The Congress party to which the senior Chidambaram belongs called it a case of political vendetta by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government.

Following a Supreme Court order that Chidambaram must join the investigation and undergo questioning, Karti arrived at the CBI headquarters in New Delhi around 10.20 am and left around 6.30 pm.

The CBI is probing clearance given by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to INX Media for foreign direct investment in 2007, during Chidambaram's tenure as finance minister. It is alleged that a firm ''indirectly controlled'' by 45-year-old businessman Karti received money from INX Media, then run by Indrani and Peter Mukerjea.

The company had allegedly raised funds from abroad to the tune of Rs305 crore, although they had approval for only Rs4.62 crore. The investigators say Karti Chidambaram had made it possible for them to break the foreign investment regulations through "influence in the finance ministry" in exchange for kickbacks amounting to Rs3.5 crore.

His father P Chidambaram was the finance minister of the Congress-led UPA government at the time.

The Mukerjeas are currently in jail allegedly for the murder of Indrani Mukerjea's daughter Sheena Bora.

Calling it ''nothing except political vendetta of the worst kind'', senior Congress leader Manish Tewari said, ''It is very surprising that the government goes and registers an FIR against unknown persons with regard to FIPB clearances. Who are those unknown persons? (They were) six seniormost secretaries of the Government of India at that point in time. If this government has the courage, let them name those unknown persons.

''The FIPB consisted of the commerce secretary, finance secretary, revenue secretary and three more. They make the recommendations and the minister signs on it.''

The CBI had registered the case on 15 May against Karti, his company Chess Management Services, INX Media, Advantage Strategic Consulting Services, its director Padma Vishwanathan and the Mukerjeas.