Aircel Maxis case P Chidambaram, Kartis interim protection extended till August 7


New Delhi: Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Tuesday extended the interim protection granted to former union minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram till August 7, 2018, in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a detailed reply in the case and opposed the anticipatory bail granted to P Chidambaram. “It is most respectfully submitted that the agency has reached to a bonafide conclusion that under anticipatory bail it will not be possible to reach the truth,” ED said.

Last month, the ED had filed a chargesheet against Karti Chidambaram. Apart from Karti, the agency has also named four others in its chargesheet under section 4 (punishment for money-laundering) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The ED mentioned the name of Chidambaram senior at various places in the chargesheet, but he has not been arrayed as an accused in the case. The agency told the court that it may file a supplementary chargesheet in the case.

About the case:

The matter pertains to grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to firm M/S Global Communication Holding Services Ltd for investment in Aircel. The ED claims that an alleged payment of Rs 26 lakh was made by Aircel Televentures Limited to ASCPL, a firm allegedly linked to Karti, within a few days of this FIPB approval. It said it is investigating “the circumstances of said FIPB approval granted by the then Finance minister (Chidambaram)”, PTI reported.

FIPB approval in the Aircel-Maxis FDI case was granted in March 2006 by the senior Chidambaram even though he was competent to accord approval on project proposals only up to Rs 600 crore and beyond that it required the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), the ED has said.

The agency said its probe revealed that the case of the said FDI was “wrongly projected as an investment of Rs 180 crore so that it need not be sent to the CCEA to avoid a detailed scrutiny”.

It has also claimed that a firm, CMSPL, promoted by Karti and P Chidambaram’s nephew A Palaniappan received a sum of about USD 0.2 million from the Maxis group allegedly for procuring a legal compliance software.

The agency said probe revealed that the “software was designed only for use in India and hence, was of no use to a Malaysian company.”

In September 2017, the ED had attached assets worth Rs 1.16 crore of Karti and the firm allegedly linked to him in connection with this case. The ED, in 2016, had filed a chargesheet in this case against former Telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran and four others. However, the court had later discharged them in 2017 in both the ED and the CBI case pertaining to the Aircel-Maxis deal.

The two agencies subsequently had appealed against this order before the Delhi High Court.

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