Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram has been named as an accused in a supplementary chargesheet filed by Enforcement Directorate in connection to the Aircel Maxis case. He has been charged along with his son Karti Chidambaram, S Bhaskararaman (Karti Chidambaram's accountant), Augustus Ralph Marshall (a resident of Malaysia) and others under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The ED has also termed a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval given by P Chidambaram in March 2006 as illegal. The other accused in the case are Astro All Asia Networks Plc Malaysia, Aircel Televentures Ltd, Maxis mobile services Sdn Bhd, Bumi Armada Berhad and Bumi Amara Navigation Sdn Bhd. They have been accused, in a statement by the ED, of laundering Rs 1.16 crore in lieu of an illegal FIPB approval given by the former Finance Minister to Global Communication and Services Holding Limited. This was a foreign investor from Mauritius and the ED contests that the approval was in violation of India's FDI policy.
"As per rules and FDI policy of Government of India in 2006, Chidambaram, the then Finance Minister was empowered to give approval of the foreign investment to the proposals involving foreign investment up to Rs 600 crore only. The foreign investment proposal of Global Communication and services Holding Limited was of 800 million, i.e, Rs. 3560 crore. As per policy and rule, proposal of Global Communication and Services Holdings Limited should have been referred to Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) but it was not done and approved by Chidambaram under a conspiracy," read the ED's statement.
The ED further stated that they have adequate material evidence of this crime. These evidences, they say, are in the form of email communication retrieved from the seized digital devices of Karti and his associates.
"ED investigation has revealed the financial linkage of Karti Chidambaram and P Chidambaram with these companies. There are contradictory and evasive responses, inspite of that ED has collected material that is corroboratory statements recorded under Section 50 of the PMLA from various persons during the investigation to substantiate the offence of money laundering," says the investigative body.
The chargesheet filed by the ED will reportedly be considered by the Delhi court on November 26. Special Judge OP Saini will be looking into the case. So far, both the former minister and his son have denied any wrongdoing.