New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday conducted searches at several places in Chennai and Kolkata, including the premises of an alleged close associate of former finance minister P. Chidambaram, in connection with its money laundering probe in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.
Sources said four locations in Chennai and two in Kolkata were searched by the agency sleuths since early Friday morning. “Documents, computer hardware, like CDs and disk drives, have been recovered during the searches.” Searches were conducted at the premises of an alleged close associate of Karti Chidambaram, son of the former finance minister P. Chidambaram, agency sleuths claimed.
The former finance minister, in the past, had dismissed the allegations against him, saying the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance pertaining to the Aircel-Maxis deal case was granted in due course. The ED suspects these people of having financial links in the Aircel-Maxis case, they said.
The raids are in connection with the ED probe into the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006.
The agency had said it is investigating “the circumstances of the said FIPB approval was granted by the then finance minister (P Chidambaram)”. In September, it had attached assets worth Rs 1.16 crore of Karti and a firm allegedly linked to him, in this case.
The ED also alleged that Karti had “disposed” of a property in Gurugram, which he had allegedly rented out to a multinational company “to whom foreign direct investment (FDI) approval had been granted in 2013”.
It charged that Karti had “also closed certain bank accounts and attempted to close other bank accounts in order to frustrate the process of attachment” under the PMLA.