Aircel-Maxis case: Delhi court extends till 7 Aug

Investigators alleged that Aircel paid around Rs 26 lakh to Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited on 11 April, 2006, and that this company was controlled by Karti

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New Delhi: On Monday Delhi court extended till 7 August the interim protection against arrest granted to former Union minister P Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis case.

The senior Congress leader had moved the Patiala House court seeking anticipatory bail earlier in the day.

The CBI on Thursday charged Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram in the case, prompting allegations of political vendetta from the principal opposition party, a charge denied by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government.

The former finance minister termed the allegations against him as “preposterous”.

The probe agency filed its supplementary charge sheet before the special judge, who had fixed it for consideration on 31 July.

The case refers to a 2006 investment in Indian telecom company Aircel Ltd by Malaysia’s Maxis Communications which, according to the report, was a violation of the then prevailing foreign investments laws.

The agency has invoked charges of criminal conspiracy, criminal misconduct by a public servant and illegal gratification in the case.

Besides the Chidambarams, the named Malaysian nationals T Ananda Krishnan, the founder of Maxis, and Ralph Marshall; former Union secretary for economic affairs Ashok Kumar Jha, then additional secretary Ashok Chawla (both Jha and Chawla were designated finance secretaries), two serving IAS officers, Sanjay Krishna and Deepak Kumar Singh, an undersecretary Ram Sharan; individuals S Bhaskarraman, A Palaniappan and V Srinivasan; and several companies, Chess Management, Advantage Strategic, Astro All Asia Networks, Maxis Mobile, Bumi Armada and Bumi Navigations.

The agency has alleged that despite the fact that investment of $800 million was made in Aircel by Maxis, and the Cabinet committee on economic affairs was the competent authority to grant approval, the investment proposal was wrongly projected as merely involving an investment of Rs 180 crore and approval was granted by the then finance minister Chidambaram.

Investigators alleged that Aircel paid around Rs 26 lakh to Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited on 11April, 2006, and that this company was controlled by Chidambaram’s son Karti.

Investigators have also alleged that another company of Karti, Chess Management Services Private Limited, received $200,000 from Malaysian companies such as Bumi Armada Berhad and Astro All Asia Networks Plc, all connected with Maxis, between 2007 and 2012.

Before filing the charge sheet, CBI questioned Chidambaram and his son multiple times.

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