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Aircel-Maxis: How FDI was wrongly projected at Rs 180 crore to avoid detailed scrutiny


The chargesheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate in the Aircel-Maxis case mentions the name of former union minister, P Chidambaram in various places, but he has not been arrayed as an accused.

Karti Chidambaram and P Chidambaram

The chargesheet however names Karti Chidambaram and others- Ravi Viswanathan and Padma - Directors of Advantage Strategic Consultancy Ltd and Annamalai Palaniappan - Director Chess Management Service Pvt Ltd.

It may be recalled that the Enforcement Directorate which recently questioned P Chidambaram had earlier said that the FIPB approval that had been granted by him was beyond his mandate. He was authorised to approve project proposals only to the tune of Rs 600 crore.

In the case on hand, the ED said that the FDI of over Rs 3,500 crore was sought. It was the CCEA which is the competent authority to grant the approval. However the approval from the CCEA was not obtained.

The ED says that there was a pattern to avoid taking the matter before the CCEA. The FDI approval was wrongly projected at Rs 180 crore. This was done to avoid a detailed scrutiny.

The ED further notes that a firm by the name CMSPL, which is promoted by Karti and Chidambaram's nephew A Palaniappan had received a sum of around 0.2 million USD from the Maxis group.

Explaining this the ED says that this was done to procure a legal compliance software. The ED said that the software that was designed only for use in India was of no use to a Malaysian company.

In this connection Karti Chidambaram had recorded his statements twice in the case under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The case of the ED is that an alleged payment of Rs 26 lakh was made by Aircel Televentures Limited to ASCPL, a firm that is allegedly linked to Karti.

The ED probed how this amount was received just days within the FIPB approval. The circumstances of this approval accorded by Chidambaram is under probe the ED says. The questioning of Chidambaram by the ED largely focused around this aspect.

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