INX Media case: FIPB clearance to INX Media accepted by six Secretaries

New Delhi [India]: Kapil Sibal, senior counsel representing former Union finance minister P Chidambaram, on Monday told the Supreme Court that the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media was approved by six Secretaries to the government. "INX Media got approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for bringing in foreign investment. FIPB consisted of six secretaries, including Economic Affairs Secretary. One of them became a RBI governor," he told a bench of Justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna.

Sibal further said that the FIPB had approved it and his client, being a minister, merely signed the clearance granted to the INX Media group. Rebutting the involvement of Chidambaram's son, Karti Chidambaram, the counsel said that none of the FIPB secretaries, who were examined by the agencies, said that the latter ever approached them.

"ED case talks about Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Ltd company but Karti nor P Chidambaram has anything to do with it," he added. Sibal said that the Enforcement Directorate claimed that they had discovered 17 bank accounts and 10 properties in Chidambaram's name or his associate's name abroad. "Just show one bank account and one property in which Chidambaram is involved and I will withdraw the appeal," he added.

The top court had on Friday granted Chidambaram interim protection from arrest, ending today, in connection with the money laundering case related to the scam which is being probed by the ED. Following the dismissal of his anticipatory bail plea by the Delhi High Court in the case, he had moved the apex court seeking relief.

Earlier today, the apex court asked him to move a regular bail plea before an appropriate court to challenge the Delhi High Court's order in CBI's case, asserting that it became infructuous after he was arrested by the agency last week. He is currently in CBI custody, which is slated to end today.

In 2017, the CBI had registered an FIR alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to INX Media to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when Chidambaram was the Union finance minister. Following the FIR filed by CBI, ED had filed a case of money laundering against him.

AAKANKSHA/V S CHANDRASEKAR/ ANI

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