NEW DELHI:Trouble seems to be brewing for former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram. The Central Bureau of Investigation informed the Supreme Court on Monday that it was probing all angles in the Aircel-Maxis case, including the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given by him in 2006.
During a brief hearing, BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy told the bench, headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar, that he had received a reply from the CBI, stating the role of P Chidambaram under probe. He also said the CBI should file a status report in the court.
Appearing on behalf of the CBI, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta assured the bench that the status report would be filed within two weeks. The bench has slated the hearing for May 2.
The Enforcement Directorate, meanwhile, filed its status report on the ongoing investigation in a sealed cover to the court. The ED is investigating the money laundering aspect of the Aircel-Maxis case.
Swamy’s plea alleged that Chidambaram illegally granted FIPB clearance to the Aircel-Maxis deal while it should have been referred to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs headed by the Prime Minister. The CCEA alone is empowered to clear foreign investments over `600 crore.
“The money transaction involved in the process was around `3,500 crore. FIPB clearance was given by then Finance Minister, who should have sent it to the CCEA,” he had said, while referring to the CBI charge sheet.
“In Aircel-Maxis case, Chidambaram illegally permitted sale of 100 per cent shares of an Indian company (Aircel) to a Malaysian company (Maxis) when legally, the limit was 74 per cent. That Malaysian company, through many other companies, gave a bribe to Karti,” Swamy alleged. The 2G special court has already discharged former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his industralist brother Kalanithi Maran and others who were chargesheeted by the CBI and ED in connection with the case and the money-laundering probe relating to the deal.
The ED had alleged that two firms, South Asia FM Limited and Sun Direct TV Private Ltd, had received `742.58 crore as proceeds of the crime from Mauritius-based firms and that the two firms were then allegedly controlled by Kalanithi Maran. In February, the Supreme Court had asked Swamy to present concrete evidence backing his plea for a probe into Chidambaram’s role