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Aircel-Maxis Case: Court Orders No Action Against P Chidambaram Till June 5

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| May 30 , 2018 , 14:09 IST

Former Union Minister P Chidambaram was granted interim protection from arrest till 5 June in the Aircel-Maxis deal case by a special court on Wednesday. However, the special Judge O P  Saini directed him to join the investigation on 5 June as directed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Earlier today, Chidambaram moved a Delhi court seeking protection from arrest which has asked ED to file a response on his anticipatory bail plea and listed the matter for further hearing on 5 June. Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi represented the Congress veteran in court.

The court had earlier granted interim protection to Karti Chidambaram from arrest till 10 July in the Aircel-Maxis deal case. The ED is probing the financial irregularities committed as per the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in the case, which is also being investigated by the CBI.

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED are investigating how Karti Chidambaram allegedly managed to get a clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in the Aircel-Maxis deal when his father P Chidambaram was the Finance Minister in 2006.

The ED in September last year had also attached Rs 1.16-crore assets of Karti in connection with the case. According to the CBI charge sheet submitted in the special court, Mauritius-based Global Communication Services Holdings Ltd, a subsidiary of Maxis, had sought approval for an investment of $800 million in Aircel.

Though it was the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), headed by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, which was competent to grant the approval, it was cleared by then Finance Minister P  Chidambaram on his own and the amount for FIPB clearance was wrongly projected to conceal the facts.

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Seeking a probe into the role of Chidambaram in alleged violation of the FIPB norms for approving the deal, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has referred to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG)'s 2015 report, which points to two alleged illegalities.

According to Swamy, the CAG cited the illegality of FIPB approving Maxis' acquisition of 93.3 percent stake in Aircel Tele Ventures Ltd through its wholly-owned subsidiary, the GCSHL, well in excess of the then ceiling of 74 percent investment by a foreign entity.

Karti is also an accused in the INX Media Case where he has been charged with receiving irregular FIPB clearance for investments up to Rs 305 crore. P Chidambaram has moved another anticipatory bail petition in the Delhi High Court in connection with INX Media case.