Chargesheeted Chidambaram exceeded brief in granting FIPB
New Delhi, Oct 25: The Enforcement Directorate's chargesheet against former union minister, P Chidambaram in connection with the Aircel-Maxis case deals with the illegal FIPB approval given by him. This is the second chargesheet that the ED has filed against Chidambaram in this case.
Apart from Chidambaram, the ED has also named, S Bhaskararaman, M/s Aircel Televentures, Augustus Ralph Marshall, resident of Malaysia and others. The chargesheet was filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act for the illegal approval by P Chidambaram in March 2006.
As per rules and FDI policy, the government of India in 2006, P Chidambaram was approved to give approval of the foreign investment to the proposals involving only Rs 600 crore. But the foreign investment given was of about 3,560 crore.
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.
The CBI which is also probing the case says that the Mauritius based Global Communication Services Holdings, a subsidiary of Maxis sought approval for an investment of 800 million dollars in Aircel. The approval was expected to come from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs or the CCEA headed by the Prime Minister. However it came from the finance ministry, which has the power to approve investments of smaller sums up to Rs 600 crore.
The agency also alleged that after the approval was received, Aircel Televentures Limited paid Rs 26 lakh to a company linked to Karti Chidambaram.