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INX Media Case: Justice Chandra Dhari Singh Of Delhi HC Recuses From ED's Plea Challenging Order To Provide Documents To P Chidambaram, His Son

Nupur Thapliyal
14 March 2022 3:01 PM GMT
INX Media Case: Justice Chandra Dhari Singh Of Delhi HC Recuses From EDs Plea Challenging Order To Provide Documents To P Chidambaram, His Son
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Justice Chandra Dhari Singh of the Delhi High Court on Monday recused from hearing a plea by Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the INX Media money laundering case challenging a Trial Court order directing supply of copies of all unrelied documents of the case to Former Union Minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti P. Chidambaram. "I am not hearing this matter. I am transferring it," said the...

Justice Chandra Dhari Singh of the Delhi High Court on Monday recused from hearing a plea by Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the INX Media money laundering case challenging a Trial Court order directing supply of copies of all unrelied documents of the case to Former Union Minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti P. Chidambaram.

"I am not hearing this matter. I am transferring it," said the judge while ordering that the plea will now be listed before some other bench on March 16.

The plea has challenged an order passed by Special Judge of Rouse Avenue Courts dated January 25, 2020 which was passed on the applications moved by the P Chidambaram and his son seeking inspection of the unrelied documents.

It is pertinent to note that the High Court had in November last year dismissed a similar plea by CBI challenging the Special Judge's order directing it to allow the accused persons to inspect the documents kept in Malkhana room collected by the agency while investigating the INX Media Case.

Justice Mukta Gupta had observed that at the time of framing of charge, an accused can bring to the notice of the Court that an unrelied document recovered during the course of investigation and kept back by the investigating agency is relevant and has a bearing on the prosecution case. Since the accused can exercise such right only if he is aware of the existence of the document, he should have the right to access and inspect the documents collected by the investigating agency.

At The Time Of Framing Of Charges, Accused Can Bring To Court's Notice About Relevancy Of Document Kept Back By Investigating Agency : Delhi HC

Brief Facts of the Case

CBI had registered an FIR dated 15th May 2017 against INX Media Pvt. Ltd., Karti Chidambaram and others for offences under sec. 120B read with sec. 420 of IPC along with sec. 8, 12(2) and 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Since the offences find mention in the Schedule appeneded to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, a case was also registered by the Directorate of Enforcement (DoE), Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue, Government of India on 18th May 2017 and an investigation was therefore taken up for a possible action under PMLA.

The said FIR was registered on the allegations that Indrani Muherjea and Pratim Mukherjea, Director and COO respectively of INX Media entered into a criminal conspiracy with Karti P Chidambaram and committed illegal acts in receiving excess Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) than the amount approved by Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). Other allegation was that such unauthorized downstream investment by INX Media in INX News without the approval of FIPB, were got scuttled by Karti P. Chidambram by influencing the public servants of FIPB Unit, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance (MoF)

It was therefore alleged that owing to the criminal conspiracy and influence of P Chidambaram and Karti Chidambaram, such officials abused their official positions and caused undue favours to INX Media due to which INX Media had paid huge amounts to some companies which Karti P Chidambaram had substantial interest in, either directly or indirectly. The investigation revealed that for regularization of excess FDI and downstream investment by INX Media, proceeds of crime were generated on few occasions from criminal activities of the said case and the same were received by Karti P. Chidambram through some shell companies associated with him.

Furthermore, it was revealed that a fake invoice dated 26th June 2008 of Rs. 11,23,600 was raised in the name of ASCPL, a company beneficially owned by Karti Chidambaram, for providing consultancy services to INX Media. The investigation further revealed that four more fake invoices in the names of four other companies for amounts, totalling to approximately US $ 700,000 (equivalent to Rs.3.2 corers), in the month of September, 2008 were also raised on INX Media.

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