Delhi High Court tells CBI in INX media case
At the hearing of the CBI’s plea against the order of a special judge directing it to allow the accused (including former Minister P. Chidambaram) to inspect the documents collected by the agency during the Investigating the INX Media case, the Delhi High Court observed on Monday that the matter had already been settled by the Supreme Court. “Every time an indictment is filed, the investigative agency has …
At the hearing of the CBI’s plea against the order of a special judge directing it to allow the accused (including former Minister P. Chidambaram) to inspect documents collected by the agency during the Investigating the INX Media case, the Delhi High Court observed on Monday that the matter had already been settled by the Supreme Court.
“Whenever an indictment is filed, the investigative agency must prepare a list of both reliable and unreliable documents. You must provide the list so that the accused, if he wishes, can request an inspection,“Judge Mukta told the CBI.
The judge referred to the Supreme Court judgment of April 20, 2021, in his suo moto case entitled In Re: To Issue Certain Guidelines Concerning Inadequations And Deficiency In Criminal Trials.
In paragraph 11 of the said case, the Supreme Court held that:
“by providing the list of declarations, documents and material objects under Articles 207/208, Cr. PC, the magistrate should also ensure that a list of other items (such as statements or objects / documents seized, but not relied on) is provided to the accused. This is to ensure that if the accused is of the opinion that such documents should be produced for a proper and fair trial, he or she can seek appropriate orders, under Cr. PC.3 for their production during the trial, in the interests of justice. It is run accordingly; the draft regulation has been amended accordingly. [Rule 4(i)]“
Accordingly, Judge Gupta observed that “the matter has already been settled by the Supreme Court.“
As CBI’s attorney requested time to review the aforementioned judgment, the case was released for August 27. The interim order, staying the trial in the case, will continue until the next date.
Challenging the order issued by IWC Special Judge MK Nagpal dated March 5, the CBI appealed to the Delhi High Court stating that the Special Judge had exceeded his jurisdiction by giving instructions to the CBI for it submits or produces before the Court all the documents collected by it. during the investigation and to observe that the accused are also entitled to copies of these documents, whether or not they are relied on by the CBI.
In view of this, the motion also contends that the accused’s right to disclosure of documents is a “Limited right as codified and constitutes the very basis of a fair investigation and trial”.
CBI had registered an FIR dated May 15, 2017 against INX Media Pvt. Ltd., Karti Chidambaram et al. For offenses under Sec. 120B read with sec. CPI 420 with sec. 8, 12 (2) and 13 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
Since the offenses are mentioned in the annex attached to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002, a case was also registered by the Directorate of Enforcement (DoE), Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Revenue , Government of India on May 18, 2017 and an investigation was therefore initiated for possible action under the PMLA.
Said FIR was recorded on allegations that Indrani Muherjea and Pratim Mukherjea, respectively director and COO of INX Media, entered into a criminal conspiracy with Karti P Chidambaram and committed illegal acts by receiving higher foreign direct investment (FDI) in the amount approved by the Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). Another allegation was that such an unauthorized downstream investment by INX Media in INX News without the approval of FIPB, had been scuttled by Karti P. Chidambram by influencing officials of the FIPB Unit, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA ), Ministry of Finance (MoF)
It was therefore alleged that due to the criminal conspiracy and influence of P Chidambaram and Karti Chidambaram, these officials abused their official positions and caused undue favors to INX Media due to which INX Media had paid huge sums to certain companies that Karti P Chidambaram had substantial interests, directly or indirectly.
The investigation revealed that for the regularization of surplus FDI and downstream investments by INX Media, the proceeds of crime were generated a few times by the criminal activities of said case and the same were received by Karti P. Chidambram by the intermediary of certain shell companies associated with it.
In addition, it was revealed that a false invoice dated June 26, 2008 of Rs. 11 23,600 was raised on behalf of ASCPL, a company beneficially owned by Karti Chidambaram, for providing consultancy services to INX Media. The investigation further revealed that four other false invoices in the name of four other companies for amounts totaling approximately US $ 700,000 (equivalent to Rs 3.2) as of September 2008 were also issued on INX Media.
Case title: CBI v. M / S INX Media Pvt Ltd. & Ors.