P Chidambaram (File photo)
P Chidambaram (File photo)

Aircel-Maxis case: P Chidambaram granted approval beyond capacity, benefited certain people: Govt counsel

ANI | Updated: Sep 02, 2019 18:01 IST

New Delhi [India], Sept 2 (ANI): K M Natraj, Additional Solicitor General, appearing for the ED and CBI in the Aircel-Maxis case, on Monday asserted that P Chidambaram, as finance minister, had granted approval beyond his capacity and benefited certain people and received kickbacks.
"These are serious economic offences which are a serious threat to the national economy and are white-collar crimes. As finance minister, he granted approval beyond his capacity, benefitted certain persons and received kickbacks," he told special CBI judge O P Saini.
O P Saini was hearing the petition filed by P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram seeking anticipatory bail in the case. The court reserved orders on the plea till September 5.
Natraj opposed the bail plea moved by the accused on the ground that they might tamper with and destroy the evidence.
"There has been non-cooperation by both the accused in the matter. They did not strategically cooperate in the investigation. Non-cooperation is another aspect which has to be borne in mind while deciding on their application," he contended.
Natraj said that some transactions made through several shell companies and accounts in Singapore and the United Kingdom (UK) have also been detected.
The counsel said that Letters Rogatory (LR) have been sent to different countries to seek information.
"We have collected strong evidence and materials to make out a case under Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) and under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)," Natraj told the court seeking their custody for detailed investigation.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Chidambaram in the court, however, opposed the contentions put forth by the counsel and said that an attempt is being made to prejudice, humiliate and create camouflage to deny interim protection to his clients.
When CBI, in the Prevention of Corruption (PC) case, has not called Karti for questioning since Dec 6, 2014, where did the question of something 'earth-shattering' arise, Singhvi asked. He argued that the accused would not fail the "triple test" of flight risk, non-cooperation and tampering with evidence.
The case, which is being probed by the CBI and ED, relates to alleged irregularities in grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval in the Aircel-Maxis deal.
The FIPB approval was allegedly granted in 2006 when Chidambaram was the Union finance minister.
According to rules and foreign direct investment (FDI) policy of the Central government, Chidambaram was only empowered to give approval to proposals involving foreign investment up to Rs 600 crore. (ANI)