Probing Chidambaram's role in Aircel-Maxis deal: CBI to court

New Delhi, Sep 22: The CBI today told the special 2G court hearing the Aircel-Maxis case that the FIPB approval given by former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the deal was a "mistake".

"The investment was of 800 million USD which is Rs 3,500 crore (approx). The FIPB approval (by the then Finance Minister) was a mistake. This is under investigation," the Investigating Officer in the case told Special Judge O P Saini. The agency said it was investigating as to how Chidambaram had given foreign investment promotion board (FIPB) approval in the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006.

It contended that Finance Minister was competent to give approval of upto Rs 600 crore, but Chidambaram gave the approval which was worth 800 million USD, approximately Rs 3,500 crore. It said that the matter should have been referred to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) and they are probing as to how Chidambaram gave the approval.

"Your (judge) query was on FIPB approval. We are showing documents which show the power of the then Finance Minister. Power was vested in the then Finance Minister to give FIPB approval of upto Rs 600 crore.

"For investment of over Rs 600 crore, CCEA was competent to give approval. This is under investigation and we have not concluded the probe on this aspect yet," CBI prosecutor K K Goel said. The agency had told the court in its chargesheet in the case that Mauritius-based M/s Global Communication Services Holdings Ltd, a subsidiary of Maxis, had sought approval for USD 800 million for which CCEA was competent to do so.


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