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Aircel-Maxis case: ED files status report in SC, role of P Chidambaram probed

The Enforcement Directorate on Monday filed a status report in the Supreme Court regarding violation of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) while stating the alleged role of former finance minister P Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis case.

The apex court has fixed the matter for further hearing on May 2.

In February this year, the Supreme Court had asked BJP leader Subramanian Swamy to place before it concrete evidence backing his plea for probe into Chidambaram’s role into alleged breach of norms in permitting Malaysian firm Maxis to acquire 100 per cent stake in Aircel through FDI in 2006.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said in a tweet that “CBI files letter stating FIPB PC decision is being investigated. ED files status report on Karti.”

Swamy has alleged that Chidambaram withheld investment clearance for Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006 until his son Karthi Chidambaram received a 5% stake in Aircel.

Sivasankaran also alleged that the Maran brothers — Dayanidhi and Kalanidhi — received kickbacks in the form of investments by the Maxis group through the Astro network in their flagship media house, the Sun TV Network.

Although the CBI found no evidence of coercion in the Aircel sale, they found substantial evidence of Maran having favoured the company’s takeover by Maxis, and delaying Sivasankar’s files.

Seeking probe into the role of Chidambaram in alleged violation of norms committed by the FIPB in approving Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006 permitting investment in excess of the ceiling of 74 per cent, Swamy had referred to the CAG report which has pointed to two alleged illegalities in the grant of approval to Aircel-Maxis deal by the FIPB.

According to Swamy, the CAG in its 2015 report pointed to two illegalities in the grant of approval by FIPB involving Maxis acquiring 93.3 per cent stake in the Aircel Tele Ventures Ltd through its ‘wos’ the GCSHL.

A special 2G court had earlier on September 17 last year dismissed the applications filed by the ex-telecom minister and his brother, challenging its jurisdiction to try the Aircel-Maxis deal case in which they have been summoned as accused.

Pronouncing the order, the court had then said, “There is no manner of doubt that by the standard of subject matter and periodicity of alleged crime, the case fairly/squarely falls within the description/ designation of the 2G scam.”

The Maran brothers challenged the jurisdiction of the special 2G court in both cases lodged by the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI.

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