Karti Chidambaram’s close aide and Chartered Accountant, S Bhaskararaman, was remanded by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday in connection with the INX Media money laundering case.
Bhaskararaman was produced before the Special judge Sunil Rana of a Delhi court, who remanded him for a five-day custodial interrogation. Bhaskararaman was arrested from a five-star hotel on early Friday. The ED had sought 14-days custody.
Through a special public prosecutor Nitesh Rana, the ED had alleged that Bhaskararaman had failed to appear before it even after issuing several summons, and was not cooperating.
The case is related to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board’s (FIPB) approval granted for receipt of funds by the INX Media in 2007 when senior Congress leader P Chidambaram was the Union Finance Minister during the UPA government’s regime. Chidambaram’s son, Karti Chidambaram, was later accused in the alleged case.
ED claimed that the statements of various witnesses had been recorded in the case. It said, “During the course of investigation, it was revealed that Bhaskararaman, who is a qualified CA, has been assisting the accused Karti Chidambaram to manage his huge ill-gotten wealth in India and abroad.”
The ED also said that Bhaskararaman’s presence was very important for collecting vital evidence and information which is within his special knowledge and exclusive field.
The ED alleged that the INX Media had deliberately made a downstream investment of 26 per cent in the overall capital of the INX News Pvt Ltd without any specific approval from the FIPB, which included the indirect foreign investment by same foreign investors. The FIPB generated Rs 305 crore foreign direct investment (FDI) in the INX Media Pvt Ltd, which was against the approved inflow of Rs 4.62 crore.
The ED also claimed that the INX Media entered into a criminal conspiracy with Karti Chidambaram. However, the counsel of Bhaskararaman argued that all the valid and necessary documents had been given to the ED when he was summoned. They said, “ED is only harassing the accused.”
Meanwhile, the Madras High Court has permitted Bhaskararaman to go abroad if certain conditions arise. The first bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose, however, directed him to submit details of his trip and the places of his visit to the CBI, and also directed him to not close any of his bank accounts.