File photo of Karti Chidambaram being produced by the CBI in the INX Media case, at Patiala House Court in Delhi. (Source: PTI)

INX Media Case: Enforcement Directorate Attaches Karti’s Assets Worth Rs 54 Crore

The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday said it has attached assets worth Rs 54 crore of Karti Chidambaram, son of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, in India, U.K. and Spain in connection with the INX Media money laundering case.

The central probe agency issued a provisional order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act for attachment of agricultural land and a bungalow in Kodaikanal and Ooty in Tamil Nadu, and a Rs 16 crore flat in south Delhi’s Jorbagh, which is in the name of Karti and his mother Nalini.

Karti, the enforcement directorate said, has a 50 percent share in this property.

In U.K., the law enforcement agency attached a Rs 8.67-crore cottage and house in Somerset, in the name of ASCPL, and a tennis club valued at over Rs 14.57 crore located in Barcelona, Spain.

Karti, through his official twitter handle, reacted to the order and said: “A bizarre and outlandish provisional attachment order, which is not based on law of facts but on crazy conjectures. This is meant only to grab headlines.”

“The order will not withstand judicial scrutiny, review, appeal. Will approach the appropriate legal forum,” he said.

Fixed deposits worth Rs 90 lakh, kept in a bank in Chennai, in the name of Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Ltd. have also been attached, the central probe agency said. The assets are in the name of Karti and ASCPL, the firm allegedly linked to him, it said.

Investigation conducted so far shows that for FIPB approval, Peter and Indrani Mukerjea met the then Finance Minister P Chidambaram so that there was no hold up or delay in their application. Chidambaram asked for his son’s business interests to be kept in mind. ED identified payments of Rs 3.09 crore by Peter Mukerjea to ASCPL and associated entities controlled by Karti through manipulated debit notes.
Enforcement Directorate. 

“During investigation, it was admitted that debit notes were raised on the directions of Karti Chidambaram to show some transaction which in fact did not occur,” the agency alleged.

It said the money so received by associated entities was channeled back into ASCPL.

“The funds received by ASCPL were invested and ASCPL also purchased shares of Vasan Health Care. A part of these shares were sold at a profit of nearly Rs 41 crore. ASCPL also earned Rs.18.49 crore from sale of shares in another company for an amount of Rs 29.49 crore,” the agency noted. “These funds arising from sale of laundered property is also property involved in money laundering.”

Officials said they will get Letters Rogatories (judicial requests) issued from a competent court for legal formalisation of the attachment of the foreign assets after they were provisionally attached Thursday under section 5 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The agency had registered a PMLA case in this deal case on the basis of a Central Bureau of Investigation FIR and had alleged that irregularities took place in the Foreign Investment Promotional Board’s clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when his father P Chidambaram was the Union finance minister.

The agency had grilled Karti in this case in the past.

It had registered an Enforcement Case Information Report, the ED’s equivalent of a police FIR, against the accused named in a CBI complaint, including Karti, INX Media and its directors Peter and Indrani Mukerjea.

Also read: All You Need to Know About Karti Chidambaram & the INX Media Case