The Enforcement Directorate is investigating various aspects of the FIPB approval given in the Aircel-Maxis deal case, including the role of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, under anti-money laundering laws, the agency said today. “Investigations under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) are going on in respect of FIPB approval given to Aircel-Maxis by the then Finance Minister (Chidambaram). “In the case, foreign inflow was Rs 3,500 crore (approximately) whereas as per government policy and FIPB guidelines competent authority was Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs for any inflow above Rs 600 crore,” the agency said in a statement. The ED has also recently filed, in a sealed cover, before the Supreme Court a status report of its ongoing investigation in this money laundering case.
Chidambaram, in his reaction, had recently said that he had granted approval to the Aircel-Maxis deal “in the normal course of business.” “In the Aircel-Maxis case, taking into account the face value of the foreign investment, the FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) submitted the case to the Finance Minister and sought approval. “As FM, I granted approval in the normal course of business,” he said in a statement.
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Chidambaram’s remarks came a day after the Supreme Court asked the CBI to file status report on the probe being carried out on various aspects of the Aircel-Maxis deal.
During a brief hearing in the apex court on April 3, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had told a bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud that he has received a reply from the CBI stating that it was probing “all angles”, including the FIPB clearance given to the deal by the then Finance Minister Chidambaram in 2006. Swamy had said that the CBI should be asked to file a status report in the case.