December 18, 2018:
On Tuesday, a Delhi court extended interim protection from arrest to Congress leader P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram till Jan 11 in the Aircel Maxis money laundering case filed by the CBI & ED.
Special Judge O P Saini extended the relief granted to the duo after the CBI and the ED submitted that new material has been recovered which needs to be collated.
It also granted time till Jan 11 to the CBI to get sanction to prosecute some of the people accused in the case.
On Nov 26, the CBI had told the court that the Centre had accorded sanction to prosecute the former Finance Minister in the case. In an application filed in the court of O P Saini, the CBI said it had filed a charge-sheet in the case against 18 accused, including Chidambaram, on July 19, 2018.
It said,“The competent authority in the central government has accorded sanction for prosecution of accused Sh P Chidambaram under Section 197 of CrPC and Section 19 of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (as amended in 2018).”
Chidambaram had filed for anticipatory bail in May this year, and his petition seeking protection from arrest has been extended from time to time.
The role of the senior Congress leader and his son is being probed in the ₹3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal, signed in 2006.
Agencies have informed that Maxis’s investment of US $800 million (then ₹ 3,565.91 crore) in an Indian firm, Aircel, was approved by the Foreign Investment Promotional Board (FIPB) under the Finance Ministry, though the ministry, at the time headed by Chidambaram, was authorized to clear FDIs only up to ₹ 600 crore.
For FDI proposals above ₹ 600 crore, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs was the competent authority. The ED said the FIPB under Chidambaram cleared the approvals to Aircel-Maxis deal “fraudulently & dishonestly” as part of “a larger conspiracy”.