CBI tells Supreme Court it’s probing PC in Aircel-Maxis case

The Asian Age.

India, Politics

Dr Swamy has alleged that the FIPB, of which P. Chidambaram was ex-officio chairman, had given illegal clearance to the deal.

P. Chidambaram (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: In a sign that P. Chidambaram’s troubles may be mounting, the Central Bureau of Investigation told the Supreme Court on Monday that it is probing all possible angles of the allegation that the former finance minister had illegally given clearance to the Malaysian firm Maxis to buy 100 per cent of Aircel.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy had approached the court earlier this year alleging an illegality been committed by then finance minister Mr Chidambaram in granting Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to the Rs 3,500 crore deal in 2006.

In his application, Dr Swamy said that he had sought a CBI probe in the Aircel-Maxis deal and that the CBI had already filed a chargesheet against former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and others. When the court asked him for proof on Mr Chidambaram’s alleged illegal action, he said his petition had nothing to do with the discharge of the Maran brothers in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

In February, a special court had dropped all charges against Mr Maran, his brother and others in the Aircel-Maxis deal cases lodged by the CBI and the ED.

On Monday, when Dr Swamy submitted to the two-judge bench of Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that he had received a letter n Turn to Page 4
from CBI about the probe undertaken against Mr Chidambaram, and asked for a direction to the CBI to file a status report, additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta told the court that the CBI was conducting the probe from all angles possible and that he would inform the court on the progress of the investigation after three weeks.

The ASG also submitted the status report of the probe conducted by the Enforcement Directorate against Mr Chidamabram to the bench in a sealed envelop. The bench posted the matter for further hearing on May 2.

Dr Swamy has alleged that the FIPB, of which Mr Chidambaram was ex-officio chairman, had given illegal clearance to the deal to enable Mr Chidambaram and his
son, Karti Chidambaram, to profit from it.

He said also said that since the deal was worth over Rs 600 crore, it ought to have been placed before the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs by the finance minister for clearance. This, he has alleged, was never done.

Dr Swamy was asked by the court to show “some concrete documentary proof” of Mr Chidambaram’s role in the alleged illegality. He is hoping that investigations by ED and the CBI will provide that.