P Chidambaram and son Karti are under investigation in the Aircel-Maxis case. 

Have Sanction to Prosecute P Chidambaram in Aircel-Maxis Case: CBI

The CBI on Monday, 26 November, informed a Delhi court that it has procured the requisite sanction from the concerned authorities to prosecute former Union minister P Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis case.

The court has, however, extended the protection granted to Chidambaram and his son, Karti, from arrest till 18 December after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said it needed two weeks to get sanction against other accused in the case.

The CBI is probing alleged irregularities in grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval in Aircel-Maxis deal, while the ED is probing alleged money-laundering related to the deal.

WHAT’S THE AIRCEL-MAXIS CASE?

Former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram is being investigated by the CBI from December 2014 in connection with the Aircel-Maxis by questioning his competency in giving FIPB sanction for investment in Aircel, an Indian mobile network operator which shut down its operations in February 2018.

The former union minister is a primary accused in the Aircel-Maxis case involving illegally procured approvals from FIPB.

The agency had argued that the deal, which was worth Rs 3,500 crore, needed approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).

The former union minister’s son, Karti Chidambaram, has also been named in a charge sheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The ED suspects that Karti received kickbacks from the FIPB approval.

The agency alleges that a payment of Rs 26 lakh was made by Aircel Televentures Limited to Advanced Strategic Consulting (ASCPL), a firm allegedly linked to Karti, within a few days of the FIPB approval.

Chidambaram, however, has said he had followed protocol in approving the investment.

HOW HAS THE CASE PROCEEDED SO FAR?

The court had, on 8 October, extended till 1 November the interim protection from arrest granted to Chidambaram and Karti in the Aircel-Maxis case filed by the CBI and the ED.

Chidambaram had filed the plea for protection from arrest in the ED case on 30 May this year, after which he got relief from the court on various occasions.

On 25 October, the ED filed a charge sheet against Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case, accusing him of conspiring with foreign investors to clear their venture.

Delhi's Patiala House Court on 1 November extended the interim protection from arrest to Chidambaram and Karti till 26 November in the case.