New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday filed a fresh chargesheet in a Delhi court in connection with the Aircel-Maxis case which lists senior Congress leader P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram as accused. Delhi's Patiala House will take cognizance in the matter on July 31.
According to the intelligence agency, its new chargesheet two sets of money trails have been discovered regarding Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance. Some government officials - both serving and retired - have also been named in the chargesheet.
Reacting to the development, senior Chidambaram told news agency ANI, "The CBI has been pressured to file a chargesheet to support a preposterous allegation against me and officers with a sterling reputation. The case is now before the Hon'ble Court and it will be contested vigorously. I shall make no more public comment."
Congress leader Kapil Sibal slammed the ruling government and the intelligence agency saying, "What do you expect from this government and the CBI. It'll meet the same fate as other chargesheets of the CBI. Remember what happened to the 2G case, it all resulted in acquitment. The same thing will happen here."
About the Aircel-Maxis 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.
(With inputs from agencies)