Aircel-Maxis: Chidambaram granted protection from arrest until August 7
New Delhi, July 23: A Delhi court extended the interim protection to former union minister P Chidambaram till August 7 in the Aircel-Maxis case. Chidambaram who was recently named as an accused in the case by the Central Bureau of Investigation had filed an anticipatory bail plea before the Patiala House court.
Last week the CBI had named former union minister, P Chidambaram as an accused in the Aircel-Maxis case. His name was mentioned in the supplementary chargesheet filed by the CBI.
There are seventeen other accused named in the chargesheet. Chidambaram's son, Karti Chidambaram has already been named as an accused in the case and the Patiala House Court had taken cognisance of the chargesheet.
After the supplementary chargesheet was filed, the court said it would take cognisance of the matter on July 31. The chargesheet also names two government officials and states that they had been charged with 'abuse of power.'
The decision to indict government officials is an interesting one. A case under the Prevention of Corruption Act is relatively weak without the indictment of a government official.
The CBI has named 12 people in the chargesheet and accused them of abusing power in granting Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approvals. Further the agency said that it has found two money trails. The charges were framed under the provisions off the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Those named in the chargesheet include P Chidambaram, Karti Chidambaram, Ashok Chawala, A Palaniappan, Deepak Kumar Singh, Kumar Sanjay Singh, Ashok Jha, Ram Sharan, S Bhaskeraman, V Srinivasan, Ralph Marshal and T Ananda.
The CBI has also named six companies which include, Chest Management Services, Advantage Strategic, Astro All Asia networks, Maxis Mobile, Bumi Armada Barhad and Bumi Armada Barhad Navigation.
It is alleged that a payment of Rs 26 lakh was made by Aircel to Advantage Strategic Consulting, a firm linked to Karti, within a few days after Chidambaram granted the FIPB approval.
What is the Aircel-Maxis case?
The case arises out of the 2G spectrum allocation and pertains to the FIPB clearances which were given to Global Communication Holding Services Limited for investment in Aircel. This took place at a time when P Chidambaram was the Union Finance Minister.
The Enforcement Directorate which is also probing this case said that the FIPB approach granted by Chidambaram in 2006 was beyond his mandate. He was only authorised to accord approvals on project proposals up to Rs 600 crore.
It may be recalled that Karti had been arrested in this case. Both Karti and Chidambaram were recently granted anticipatory bail till August 7.