Mumbai: Jailed media baron Indrani Mukerjea on Thursday expressed happiness at the arrest of former finance minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media case in which she turned approver last year.
“I am happy that Chidambaram is arrested. I have been closely watching the developments,” Mukerjea, on trial for allegedly murdering her daughter Sheena Bora, said. Mukerjea added that she hoped that Karti Chidambaram’s bail would be cancelled.
Mukerjea’s statement, her first reaction to Chidambaram’s arrest, came when she was brought to court for the Sheena Bora murder trial in which she is the prime accused.
A statement by Mukerjea recorded by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) last year was reportedly the much-needed breakthrough in the INX Media case registered in May 2017. The case pertains to alleged irregularities in the FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when Chidambaram was the Union finance minister in the UPA-1 government.
News agencies had quoted senior CBI officials as saying that Mukherjea's statement was recorded in February 2018 and at the end of the month, Karti Chidambaram was arrested, but the agency was "unable to connect all the dots instantly".
"But things changed soon after we studied Mukherjea statement in which she shared a lot of information with us, details about the meeting with then Finance Minister in his office in the North Block and then her meeting with Karti Chidambaram in a Delhi hotel," IANS quoted an official as saying.
The official said that last year when the CBI arrested Karti Chidambaram, it was far from clear as to how the financial transactions took place and when the entire plan was carried out. "But after studying the statements of Mukherjea and then connecting it with the series of events... whether it’s the FIPB clearance or giving work to Karti's companies after the meeting, a tight case was made," he said.
Mukherjea had spilled the beans on the deal allegedly involving Karti Chidambaram while recording her statement before a magistrate in February last year, including that he had allegedly taken bribes from her.
Among other things, she alleged that Karti Chidambaram received Rs 3.5 crore in kickbacks from INX Media for securing the FIPB clearance in 2007 in which it received around Rs 305 crore funds from abroad. She also said that Karti Chidambaram had met her at a hotel in New Delhi and allegedly demanded $1 million (Rs 6.5 crore) for the FIPB clearances.