NEW DELHI: In what could tighten the noose around Karti Chidambaram, jailed media promoter Indrani Mukerjea stood by her claim that she paid bribes to him when she was brought face to face with him in Mumbai’s Byculla jail on Sunday.
Top CBI sources told that Indrani “repeated everything she had said in her statement recorded under Section 164 of CrPC before a magistrate and during her examination by investigators”.
The details of Sunday’s questioning will be shared with the court when Karti is produced next on Tuesday, the sources added. “Indrani replied calmly to all the questions and recalled her meeting with the former FM (P Chidambaram) and later with Karti and then the fact that Karti asked for a bribe to help the company, which was ultimately paid,” a CBI source said.“She is ready to stand by it in court,” the source added.
Karti was flown to Mumbai and confronted with Indrani for almost four-and-ahalf hours. While being taken to the airport, he told reporters he was “innocent”.
In an earlier statement before a magistrate, Indrani had said she met Karti’s father, former finance minister P Chidambaram, at his North Block office after the income tax department detected irregularities in the FIPB clearance to INX Media, which brought in foreign investment of Rs 305 crore while it was allowed to raise only Rs 4.6 crore.
Chidambaram, Indrani and her husband Peter Mukerjea claimed, guided them to his son with the suggestion that they help Karti’s business. According to the CBI, Karti asked the Mukerjeas for a bribe of $1 million when they met at Hyatt hotel in Delhi and $700,000 (Rs 3.1 crore) was paid. Indrani’s statement against Karti will be treated as “crucial testimony” even though the CBI and the ED have supporting evidence to prosecute him, including invoices, email conversations and details of foreign remittances, sources said.
Karti’s legal team has questioned Indrani’s credibility, arguing that she was accused of murdering her own daughter. CBI officials said Karti has been “evasive” in his replies so far. “He has made incorrect statements with respect to evidence. All this is delaying the investigation,” the agency said. Once CBI is done with questioning Karti, the ED will approach court to take his custody.