The recent news reports that INX Media, which is in the center of a bribery scandal and for alleged Money Laundering, is actually owned by none other than Mukesh Ambani, the most prominent business leader in India and the owner of Reliance Industries Private ltd is as surprising as it is scandalous in nature.
Dwelling deeper into these new facts that have emerged raises some very serious and important questions about why these facts have been withheld and why have they not surfaced in the news media?
If these facts are correct or hold significant weightage, why were Mukesh Ambani and his close aids not questioned or investigated by the two agencies in charge of the cases?
As per the investigations of the two agencies in charge of the case, while both P Chidambaram and his son Karti were questioned and the former politician was taken into custody, why was Mukesh Ambani spared the investigations or questioning at that point in time?
If indeed these facts are actual, and both Peter Mukherjee and Indrani Mukherjee had and have given statements on the same, will the investigating agencies now question and investigate Mukesh Ambani and his Associates?
Has Mukesh Ambani dodged the investigations because of Modi Government? It has been brought repeatedly that Reliance Industries might enjoy certain favoritism from the current Modi Government.
As per the media reports, Peter Mukherjee and his wife Indrani Mukherjee, who were both arrested for the alleged involvement in the murder of Indrani’s daughter, Sheena Bora, had also been investigated in the probe of INX Media for allegedly diverting foreign direct investments by three Mauritius based firms in INX Media to its subsidiaries without the prior approval of the FIPB.
These funds that were received by the firm were to the tune of Rs 305 crore from overseas in the year 2007, whereas the permission for the same given by FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) was only for an amount of 5 crores.
Besides the above allegation, the firm was also booked for bribery, wherein both Peter Mukherjee and Indrani Mukherjee, in separate inquiries by the ED and the CBI, had mentioned that Karti had asked for a bribe of US$ 1 million in 2006.
This was also the time when P Chidambaram was the then Union minister under the newly formed United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government led by Manmohan Singh.
The case took an ugly turn when the ED arrested P Chidambaram and his son Karti on the basis that they had found documents in the computer belonging to Karti that indicated that payments were made to firms owned and controlled by Karti.
Both Peter Mukherjee and Indrani Mukherjee had indicated that they had met P Chidambaram on the matter, and the latter had asked them to help his son Karti out in his business deals.
Both P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram were booked and questioned by the investigative agencies. P Chidambaram was later arrested and put into custody in Tihar jail and was later granted bail after spending 105 days in custody.
The chain of events was majorly reported in the media and became national headlines garnering a lot of attention.
The entire saga until here is pretty much straight forward, but it is also here that the glitch in the investigations pops up glaringly.
The reason for the same is the heavily guarded piece of news that INX Media was, in fact, owned by none other than one of the most influential and Asia’s richest man – Mukesh Ambani.
This vital fact has recently surfaced after a good number of years; however, this important fact was highlighted and communicated by both Peter Mukherjee and Indrani Mukherjee in a written statement to the respective investigating agencies.
The first mention of the same was made by Peter Mukherjee in 2018 to ED officials, that INX Media was owned by Mukesh Ambani and his known counterparts, which means that the bribe that was paid to P Chidambaram’s son Karti was actually paid by none other than an Ambani Firm.
The second mention of the same was made by Indrani Mukherjee to CBI regarding the alleged bribe to Karti.
Hence this raises the very important question if what Peter Mukherjee has claimed and reported is indeed true, then why was Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries not investigated and questioned as P Chidambaram and his son Karti were?
Peter Mukherjee has offered sufficient information with regards to the ownership of INX Media-
- He and his wife both held 10% sweat equity, while Indrani held 40% in ‘holding Capacity’ fro Mukesh Ambani and his family and friends
- He also stated that a private equity firm, NSR PE, was a vehicle for Ambani’s friends and owned another 20% of the firm.
- The entire above holding makes Mukesh Ambani the principal stockholder and also the investor in the firm, holding almost 60% of the shares.
- He has also alleged that the entire process was done as daily dealings by Reliance executives close to Mukesh Ambani and that he was also in direct touch with P Chidambaram and his son.
The above facts were divulged by Peter Mukherjee back in 2018 and by Indrani Mukherjee in 2019; both are written statements given to two assistant directors, who were individually interacting with the duo.
A handwritten statement made and recorded by an assistant director level officer under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) is considered admissible evidence in court.
Mukesh Ambani and Reliance Industries and its various businesses have been in much news regarding their varied and many business dealings, which have been most discussed in the Business circles. While the rest of the world and businesses have been feeling the Covid -19 pandemic pinch, Reliance Industries holding the reigns of which is Mukesh Ambani seem to be scaling new and newer heights with each business deals.
It remains to be seen what transpires with these latest facts and if Mukesh Ambani and his close family and friends who have been allegedly involved in this entire saga will be questioned and investigated on the same.