New Delhi, May 30: A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday granted interim relief from arrest to former finance minister P Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis case. The interim protection from arrest has been given till June 5 — the next date of hearing.
This came after Chidambaram filed an anticipatory bail plea in Delhi’s Patiala House Court earlier in the day in connection with the case. The court also sought Enforcement Directorate’s reply on the anticipatory bail plea moved by P Chidambaram. The former union minister will now appear before the ED on June 5.
Congress leader and senior advocate Kapil Sibal represented Chidambaram in the case during his anticipatory bail plea hearing. Sibal, according to the reports, will continue to argue for the former union minister.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the CBI are probing the Aircel-Maxis case of alleged money laundering in which foreign investment clearance was granted in 2006 to the Aircel-Maxis deal when P Chidambaram was the Union finance minister in the UPA government.
P. Chidambaram’s son Karti was arrested on February 28 at the Chennai airport on his return from the United Kingdom, for his alleged role in facilitating Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance for INX Media Ltd. and its directors, Peter and Indrani Mukerjea.
The investigation agency had claimed that an amount of Rs 26 lakh was allegedly paid by Aircel Televentures Limited to ASCPL, allegedly linked to Chidambaram, within days of the FIPB approval.
In October last year, during the investigation, Enforcement Directorate (ED) found that FIPB approval given by Chidambaram in Aircel-Maxis case was beyond his mandate. The CBI had also alleged that the approval was granted by Chidambaram when it should have been cleared by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
In 2011, former Aircel head C. Sivasankaran complained to the CBI that he was being forced by then telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran to sell Aircel to the Malaysia-based Maxis Communications group owned by T. Ananda Krishnan.
With agency inputs