New Delhi: The arrest of former Union finance and home minister P. Chidambaram in the INX Media case has put the spotlight back on the other cases that the senior Congress leader is alleged to be at the centre of.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Chidambaram on Wednesday night from his residence in New Delhi more than two years after it filed an FIR against him in the INX Media case. The agency has been granted custody of the Congress leader till 26 August.
Chidambaram is also in the spotlight for his alleged involvement in the Aircel- Maxis case and the Air India deal. His wife, Nalini Chidambaram, has been under the scanner for the Saradha scam.
“Chidambaram’s role in these cases has come under scrutiny. The common link is that they all took place when he was the finance minister. For now, custodial interrogation is required to probe into the INX Media deal," said a central government official, requesting anonymity.
The CBI was following alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds of ₹305 crore in 2007, when Chidambaram was finance minister during the first term of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government. The agency filed an FIR in May 2017.
Persons familiar with the developments of the INX Media case said that the CBI quizzed the former finance minister on the money trail and alleged subsequent “investments made with the money that was received as kickbacks in the INX deal", the details of his “shell companies based out of India", the details of his meetings with Indrani Mukerjea, as well as the alleged “leeway granted to (the former minister’s son) Karti (Chidambaram) in the deal" when Chidambaram was the finance minister.
The CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) have also been probing his alleged role and the money trail in the Aircel-Maxis case where there are said to have been irregularities in the granting of FIPB approval.
The CBI had in July last year named the former minister and his son as accused in the Aircel-Maxis case in a supplementary chargesheet filed in July last year. The agency charged the Congress leader with having received kickbacks in return for ensuring FIPB clearance for the ₹3,500 crore deal. In October, the ED filed a supplementary chargesheet against Chidambaram and nine others, including his son.
Chidambaram was also under the ED scanner in the Air India case which pertains to the purchase of 43 aircraft from Airbus and 68 from Boeing for ₹70,000 crore in 2007. The purchase order was cleared by an empowered group of ministers headed by Chidambaram when he was finance minister.