Delhi's Patiala House Court on Friday extended the interim protection from arrest granted to former Union minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis cases till March 25. A bunch of charge sheet was filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the father-son duo for allegedly conspiring with foreign investors to give them clearance for their venture.
"Aircel Maxis case: Interim protection of P Chidambaram and Karti Chidambaram extended till March 25 by Delhi's Patiala House Court," the news agency ANI reported.
Aircel Maxis case: Interim protection of P Chidambaram and Karti Chidambaram extended till March 25 by Delhi's Patiala House Court pic.twitter.com/OdbcS0yJ9E— ANI (@ANI) March 8, 2019
The other accused in the case include S Bhaskaraman (chartered accountant of Karti), V Srinivasan (former CEO of Aircel), Augustus Ralph Marshall (associated with Maxis), Astro All Asia Networks Plc Malaysia, Aircel Televentures Ltd, Maxis Mobile Services Sdn Bhd, Bumi Armada Berhad and Bumi Armada Navigation Sdn Bhd.
They are accused of money laundering of Rs 1.16 crore in lieu of illegal FIPB approval by the former minister in March 2006, given to the foreign investor Global Communication and Services Holdings Limited, Mauritius in violation of the various rules and regulations governing the FDI policy in India.
The material evidence revealed routing of proceeds of crime in the guise of bonafide business deals by the beneficiaries of illegal FIPB approval in the companies of Karti. The investigation has revealed the financial linkage of Karti Chidambaram and P Chidambaram with these companies.
Chidambaram and Karti were named in the charge sheet filed by the CBI in the case on July 19 last year. The agency filed a supplementary charge sheet before the special judge, who had fixed it for consideration on July 31.
The CBI is probing how Chidambaram, who was the Union finance minister in 2006, granted FIPB approval to a foreign firm when only the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) was empowered to do it. The ED is also probing a separate money-laundering case in the Aircel-Maxis matter, in which the Chidambarams have been questioned by the agency.
The CBI and the ED, in their replies to the anticipatory bail pleas of Chidambarams, had recently told the court that custodial interrogation of both the accused was required since various new materials have surfaced after the filing of the charge sheet, alleging that they were not cooperating in the probe.
The two have recently denied the allegations of both the agencies that they were evasive and non-cooperative during the probe in the case, and said the allegations against them were "unsubstantiated" and there was no need of their custodial interrogation.
P Chidambaram filed his anticipatory bail application in May last year. His protection from arrest has been extended from time to time. The agencies have sought the custodial interrogation of both the accused, saying they have not been cooperating and, therefore, making it difficult to complete the investigation in a time-bound manner as directed by the Supreme Court.
(With inputs from agencies)