CBI to probe how Chidambaram got hold of confidential papers regarding investigation into Aircel-Maxis deal

On Thursday it was reported that, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had found a classified CBI status report ‘draft’ pertaining to the Aircel-Maxis deal while raiding senior Congress leader P Chidambaram’s New Delhi residence on January 13th.

CBI reportedly submitted the status report to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover to the SC double bench of Justices GS Singhvi and K Radhakrishnan on August 1, 2013 when Chidambaram was a Union Minister in the UPA-2 cabinet.

Reports claimed that as per ED sources, the unsigned draft found with Chidambaram, pertained to only those portions of the CBI report to the apex court that dealt with the Aircel-Maxis case of 2006 when Aircel was sold to Maxis – a Malaysian company – in a deal that allegedly violated foreign investments protocol.

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The ED in this matter has been probing the role of then Finance Minister P Chidambaram, in granting the FIPB approval, which allegedly involved a total amount of about Rs. 3,500 crores, even though Chidambaram only had powers to approve project proposals worth Rs 600 crores. For any amount exceeding Rs 600 crores, Chidambaram was required to take an approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).

As per a report by the Pioneer, Chidambaram was privy to the report before the investigative agency put it up before the Supreme Court. It alleged that the report was leaked to Chidambaram by a serving Joint Director of CBI in connivance with an IPS officer from Himachal Pradesh cadre.

Chidambaram’s son Karti too has been under scrutiny over allegations that his firm received about Rs 1.16 crores from Aircel and other companies in form of a ‘consultancy fee’.

With the news about the leak now out in the open, the CBI has now started an internal inquiry over how the draft related to the Aircel-Maxis matter reached Chidambaram’s home. After the report was recovered by the ED, a note was sent to the CBI asking it to verify whether the document was real.

As per other reports, the CBI is examining some papers seized in the probe to determine whether they were part of some draft report.

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