CBI expands probe against Chidambaram

NEW DELHI, Aug 22: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has expanded the probe against former finance minister P Chidambaram, bringing under its ambit foreign investment clearances given to companies other than INX Media during his tenure, officials said on Thursday.
The CBI suspects that Chidamabaram and his son Karti also received kickbacks from other companies to facilitate foreign investment clearances through the FIPB route which necessitates the former minister’s custodial interrogation, they said.
Both Chidambaram and Karti have strongly denied allegations of corruption levelled by the CBI.
The agency in its FIR related to the INX Media case has alleged that Karti helped the company by using his influence in the ministry to get clearance for FDI investment worth Rs 305 crore and for it companies linked to him received payments under the garb of consultancy services.
The FIR has not mentioned whether Chidambaram himself received any payments for granting FDI clearances.
The CBI investigation is understood to have shown that Karti, through his shell firms, also allegedly received payments from “many other companies” which were granted clearances by FIPB during Chidambaram’s tenure, sources said.
Chidambaram was the finance minister in the Congress-led UPA government between 22 May, 2004, and 30 November, 2008, and in the second tenure from 31 July, 2012, to 26 May, 2014.
The CBI is investigating payment trails of several companies abroad and in order to trace such investments, it has issued letter rogatory, a judicial request to different countries seeking information about these suspicious transactions, they said.
After his arrest on Wednesday evening, the CBI started to question Chidambaram early Thursday morning.
The CBI maintains that he did not cooperate with investigation and gave evasive replies on many crucial questions placed before him by the investigation officer of the case.
CBI sources said positions taken by the former finance minister in his replies are in gross contradiction to other accused and witnesses. (PTI)