The Central Bureau of Investigation has expanded the probe against former finance minister P Chidambaram, bringing under its ambit foreign investment clearances given to companies other than INX media during his tenure, officials said on Thursday.
The CBI suspects that Chidamabaram and his son Karti also received kickbacks from other companies to facilitate foreign investment clearances through the Foreign Investment Promotion Board route which necessitates the former minister's custodial interrogation, they said.
Both Chidambaram and Karti have strongly denied allegations of corruption levelled by the CBI.
The agency in its first information report related to INX media case has alleged that Karti Chidambaram helped the company by using his influence in the ministry to get clearance for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) worth Rs 305 crore and for it companies linked to him received payments under the garb of consultancy services.
The FIR has not mentioned whether Chidambaram himself received any payments for granting FDI clearances.
The CBI investigation is understood to have shown that Karti Chidambaram, through his shell firms, also allegedly received payments from 'many other companies' which were granted clearances by FIPB during Chidambaram's tenure, sources said.
Chidambaram was the finance minister in Congress-led UPA government between May 22, 2004 and November 30, 2008 and in the second tenure from July 31, 2012 to May 26, 2014.
The CBI is investigating payment trails of several companies abroad and in order to trace such investments, the CBI has issued Letter Rogatory, a judicial request to different countries seeking information about these suspicious transactions, they said.
The agency sources refused to give details of LRs and companies whose FDI clearances are under scanner as it may hamper future course of probe in the cases.
After his arrest Wednesday evening, the CBI started to question Chidambaram early Thursday morning.
The CBI maintains that he did not cooperate with investigation and gave evasive replies on many crucial questions placed before him by the investigation officer of the case.
The agency sources said positions taken by the former finance minister in his replies are in gross contradiction to other accused and witnesses.
After the Delhi high court dismissed his anticipatory bail application, the CBI made an attempt to locate him at his residence 115-A Jor Bagh, New Delhi.
The agency also pasted a notice there seeking his presence before the investigation officer within two hours but when 'he did not join investigation', a non-bailable warrant was issued by Special CBI court on the basis of which he was taken into custody on Wednesday evening, they said.