New Delhi: Senior congress leader P Chidambaram is expected to appear before the Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday for the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case.
According to official sources, the Enforcement Directorate has issued fresh summons to the former finance minister to appear before the investigating officer. Once he appears, the officer is expected to record his statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The ED has already questioned Karti Chidambaram, P Chidambaram’s son before summoning the senior congressman.
Last week, the court of Special Judge OP Saini was approached by the former finance minister seeking relief from arrest by the ED in the money laundering case. The court had in turn directed the ED not to take any coercive action against the senior Chidambaram till June 5. Chidambaram approached the court the same day he was asked by the ED to appear before it – 30 May.
For the uninitiated, the Aircel-Maxis cases pertain to grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance to firm M/s Global Communication Holding Services Ltd in 2006 for investment in Aircel. On March 12, the Supreme Court had directed the investigating agencies – the CBI and the ED – to complete their probe into the 2G spectrum allocation cases in six months. This included the Aircel Maxis alleged money laundering case.
According to the ED, the FIPB approval in the Aircel-Maxis FDI case was granted by Chidambaram in 2006. This happened in spite of him being competent to accord approval on project proposals only up to Rs 600 crore. Beyond this amount, the project proposals required the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic affairs (CCEA).
The ED is investigating the circumstances of the FIPB approval granted (in 2006) by the then finance minister. “In the instant case, the approval for FDI of 800 million USD (over Rs 3,500 crore) was sought. Hence, the CCEA was competent to grant the approval. However, the approval was not obtained from the CCEA,” the ED had alleged.