The CBI and the ED Monday sought in a Delhi court the custodial interrogation of former finance minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti in cases arising out of the Aircel-Maxis scam saying they have been non-cooperative in the investigation.
The CBI and the ED Monday sought in a Delhi court the custodial interrogation of former finance minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti in cases arising out of the Aircel-Maxis scam saying they have been non-cooperative in the investigation. Chidambaram, during the UPA regime granted approval to the Aircel-Maxis deal beyond his capacity which benefitted certain persons and received kickbacks, the probe agencies alleged.
Opposing the Congress leader and his son Karti’s protection from arrest, the agencies said the two will hamper the probe. The CBI and the ED also opposed the anticipatory bail applications filed by the father-son duo. The probe agencies told Special judge O P Saini that Chidambaram, 73, and his son have committed serious economic offences and there was a larger conspiracy against the public and national interest.
The Chidambarams need to be dealt with ‘iron hand’, the CBI said maintaining that the probe in the Aircel-Maxis corruption case is still going on. The ED said the Chidambarams are accused of money laundering, creating shell companies and committing other offences. There are reasons to believe that Chidambaram and Karti committed money laundering which is sufficient for their arrest. The court on August 23 had extended the interim protection from arrest granted to Chidambaram and his son till September 3. The court had pulled up the CBI and the ED for seeking adjournments on the hearing related to their anticipatory bail pleas.
The court said the probe agencies have been seeking adjournments in the cases for over a year and it has become “embarrassing” to continue with the matter in this manner. It had given ultimatum to the probe agencies that onus is on them to make arguments against the anticipatory bail pleas of the Chidambarams and they have to make their stand clear as soon as possible as the order would be pronounced on September 3.
The cases relate to alleged irregularities in grant of FIPB approval in the Rs 3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal when P Chidambaram was finance minister. The case relates to alleged irregularities in grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval in the Aircel-Maxis deal. The father-son duo were given interim protection from arrest by the court after they had filed anticipatory bail applications in the case . Their protection from arrest has been extended from time to time. The previous extension was ending on August 23.
Chidambaram and Karti were named in the charge sheet filed by the CBI in the case on July 19 last year. The CBI is probing how Chidambaram, when finance minister in 2006, granted FIPB approval to a foreign firm, when only the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) was empowered to do it. The ED is also probing a separate money laundering case in the Aircel-Maxis matter, in which the Chidambarams have been questioned by the agency and their anticipatory bail is pending. The Chidambarams are under the scanner of investigating agencies in the Aircel-Maxis deal as also the INX Media case involving Rs 305 crore.