The scam-ridden, former Finance Minister, P Chidambaram, who has been in news for his unlawful involvement in the Aircel-Maxis case for quite some time now, and has been for all this while making false affirmations defending himself, has been denounced as a ‘willful lawbreaker’ in the charge sheet filed by the CBI last month.
Coming as a hard blow to the Congress, the charge sheet claimed that Chidambaram did not grant FDI approvals “mechanically” but there was “due application of mind” in “deliberately ignoring prevailing guidelines” while deciding the Aircel-Maxis case to avoid sending it to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.
It further revealed that several Congress leaders and the then Finance Ministry officials, including then under secretaries Ram Sharan and Dipak Kumar Singh, former FIPB additional secretary Ashok Chawla, the former joint secretary Sanjay Krishna, and the economic affairs secretary Ashok Jha, had conspired with Chidambaram, who was the Finance Minister from May 2004 to December 2008.
The Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate have been investigating the foreign investment clearance granted in 2006 for the Aircel-Maxis deal when Chidambaram was the Finance Minister in the Congress-led UPA government at the centre.
According to the CBI, Mauritius-based Global Communication Services Holdings – a subsidiary of Maxis – sought approval for an investment of 800 million dollars in telecom carrier Aircel. The approval was expected to come from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs or CCEA, headed by the Prime Minister. But it came from the then finance ministry, which only has the power to approve investments of smaller sums, up to Rs. 600 crore.
The agency alleged that the FIPB officials and P Chidambaram ‘deliberately suppressed’ the total investment figure and ‘maliciously projected’ the proposal of investment at Rs. 180 crores only by taking the value ‘at par’, which was done to bring the value within the competence level of Chidambaram, and furthered that after the approval was received, Aircel Televentures Limited paid a sum of 26 lakh to a company linked to Karti Chidambaram.
The CBI charged that the Congressman “dishonestly” didn’t raise any objections when the proposal was put up to him mentioning the ‘par value’ of the investment, despite knowing that, that was the only proposal where the phrase ‘par value’ was used.
This year has not started well for the Chidambaram’s, with the father-son duo landing themselves in a catch-22 situation, and crises not seeming to seize for them and their family members. In the month of May, the Income Tax Department had filed four prosecution complaints against Karti Chidambaram, his mother Nalini and wife Srinidhi in a Chennai court. According to reports, the cases were filed under the Black Money Act.
The Chennai and Delhi homes of former Union minister P Chidambaram were raided by a team of Enforcement Directorate earlier this year in connection with the money laundering investigation in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case.
Interestingly, with the departments, probing the Aircel-Maxis case, including P Chidambaram in the list of accused, it so seems that the father-son duo is giving tough competition to each other with Karti already facing probe and currently on bail in the INX Media case and also under probe in the Aircel-Maxis case.