P Chidambaram, Karti Chidambaram named in CBI charge sheet
Congress leader P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram were on Thursday named as accused in a charge sheet filed by the CBI in the AircelMaxis deal case in which they have been charged for alleged criminal conspiracy and misconduct
New Delhi: Congress leader P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram were on Thursday named as accused in a charge sheet filed by the CBI in the Aircel-Maxis deal case in which they have been charged for alleged criminal conspiracy and misconduct.
The agency filed its supplementary charge sheet before special CBI judge O P Saini who fixed it for consideration on July 31. Besides Chidambaram and Karti, the CBI named 10 individuals, including public servants, and six companies as accused in the case. The charge sheet was filed for the alleged offences of criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), public servant taking illegal gratification, punishment for abetting this offence and public servant committing criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
If convicted, the offences entail a maximum punishment of seven years. According to the sources, the CBI is yet to obtain sanction to prosecute the public servants. The money alleged to be given as illegal gratification was taken from a Malaysia-based company and Aircel Televentures Ltd, they said.
The CBI was conducting probe as to how Chidambaram, who was the finance minister in 2006, granted Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval to a foreign firm when only the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) was empowered to do it.
The senior Congress leader’s role had come under the scanner of investigating agencies in the Aircel-Maxis deal of Rs 3,500 crore and INX Media case involving Rs 305 crore. In its charge sheet filed earlier in the case against former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran and others, the agency had alleged that Chidambaram had granted FIPB approval in March 2006 to Mauritius-based Global Communication Services Holdings Ltd, a subsidiary of Maxis.
The Maran brothers and other accused, who were listed in the CBI charge sheet earlier, were discharged by the special court which had said that the agency had failed to produce any material against them to proceed with the trial. The CBI had alleged in the charge sheet against the Marans that Global Communication Services Holdings Ltd had sought FIPB approval for $ 800 million for which only the CCEA was competent, but Chidambaram had given approval to the firm in March 2006.
It had claimed that the finance minister was competent to accord approval on project proposals of up to Rs 600 crore and proposals beyond this required the approval of the CCEA. The Enforcement Directorate is also probing a separate money laundering case in the Aircel-Maxis deal in which Chidambaram and Karti have been questioned by the agency. Both have denied the allegations.