Centre allows CBI To Move Against Ex-NITI Aayog CEO in INX Case

JAPAN - MAY 06: Sindhushree Khullar, additional secretary for ministry of finance of India, listens during a seminar sponsored by Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. at the 40th Annual General Meeting of the Asian Development Bank(ADB) in Kyoto, Japan, on Sunday, May 6, 2007. (Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

NEW DELHI : The government has issued a sanction to the CBI to prosecute former NITI Aayog CEO Sindhushree Khullar and others in connection with the FIPB clearance granted to INX Media, officials said.
Besides Ms Sindhushree Khullar, the government has also sanctioned the prosecution of former secretary of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Anup K Pujari, the then director in the Finance Ministry Prabodh Saxena, and former undersecretary in the Department of Economic Affairs Rabindra Prasad in the case involving INX Media, they said.
Mr Chidambaram, who has been in jail since September 5, is accused of allowing a huge infusion of foreign funds into INX Media. His son Karti Chidambaram is accused of receiving kickbacks for facilitating the process.
The government had already sanctioned the prosecution of former finance minister P Chidambaram in February this year, the officials said. Sindhushree Khullar served as additional secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs during 2004 and 2008. Pujari was the joint secretary during 2006 and 2010; Saxena served as the director of the department between 2008 and 2010, and Prasad also worked during the period under investigation, they said.

An FIR was filed by the CBI on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds in 2007 when Chidambaram was the finance minister in the UPA government.

Though the government in February granted sanction against Mr Chidambaram to proceed, it had withheld the sanctions against the four former officers who have worked in the Finance Ministry when the United Progressive Alliance government was in power. The Central Vigilance Commission that supervises the CBI in anti-corruption cases had written to the government in June to allow the probe agency to prosecute the four officers.
The CBI received the go-ahead from the finance and personnel ministries in the second week of September to move against the four officers in the INX Media case, sources in the CBI have told.

They said the four officers who worked under Mr Chidambaram will be named in a chargesheet in October as accused in the INX Media case. The four were brought face-to-face with Mr Chidambaram during questioning when the former Union minister was in the CBI’s custody last month.
Except for the four former Finance Ministry officers, no member of the then Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), then headed by Subba Rao, who later become Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, will be named in the chargesheet.The FIPB was later renamed as Foreign Investment Facilitation Portal (FIFP) by the National Democratic Alliance government during its first term in June 2017.



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