New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday filed charge sheet against former Union minister P Chidambaram in the Rs 3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis money laundering case, accusing him of conspiring with foreign investors to give them clearance for their venture. He has been named as accused number 1 in the charge sheet and case will be considered by the Delhi court on November 26.
“As per rules and FDI policy of Government of India in 2006, Chidambaram, the then Finance Minister was empowered to give approval of the foreign investment to the proposals involving foreign investment up to Rs 600 crore only. The foreign investment proposal of Global Communication and Services Holdings Limited should have been referred to Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) but it was not done and approved by Chidambaram under a conspiracy,” said the ED, filing the second supplementary charge sheet.
ED had filed the first charge sheet in the case against Chidambaram’s son Karti; later, a supplementary charge sheet was also filed against him.
The 72-year-old former minister and his son have denied any wrongdoing and attributed the cases to political vendetta by the NDA government.
Karti Chidambaram’s accountant Bhaskar Raman is also among the nine persons named in the additional charge sheet. The nine accused named by the agency in the case are: Chidambaram, S. Bhaskaraman (chartered accountant of Karti), V Srinivasan (former CEO of Aircel), Augustus Ralph Marshall (associated with Maxis), Astro All Asia Networks Plc Malaysia, Aircel Televentures Ltd, Maxis Mobile Services Sdn Bhd, Bumi Armada Berhad, Bumi Armada Navigation Sdn Bhd.
- The Central Bureau of Investigation says that as the finance minister in the government of Dr Manmohan Singh, Chidambaram had misused his office to clear foreign investment deals, for which his son Karti Chidambaram was given kickbacks.
- The CBI and the Enforcement Directorate have been investigating case, which involves the foreign investment clearance granted in 2006 for the Aircel-Maxis deal.
- According to the CBI, the Mauritius-based Global Communication Services Holdings — a subsidiary of Maxis — sought approval for an investment of 800 million dollars in Aircel.
- The approval was expected to come from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs or CCEA, headed by the Prime Minister.
- But instead, it came from the finance ministry, which only has the power to approve investments of smaller sums, upto Rs 600 crore. At the time, Chidambaram was Finance Minister in the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre.
- The agency alleged that after the approval was received, Aircel Televentures Limited paid Rs 26 lakh to a company linked to Karti Chidambaram.
- Chidambaram and his son have been given immunity from arrest till November 1 by a Delhi court.