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Aircel-Maxis case: Chidambaram appears before ED for second time

By Deepika

Former finance minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case for the second time. 

Former finance minister P Chidambaram

The senior Congress leader arrived at the ED's headquarter annexe office here shortly before 11 am, they said.

The senior Congress leader was questioned for the first time on June 5 by the Enforcment Directorate, a department that reported to him during his tenure in the Finance Ministry.

Chidambaram was again summoned for June 12 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

It is understood that the agency wants to put across a fresh set of questions to him regarding the deal, even as they recorded his statement for six hours on various aspects yesterday.

The agency had earlier recorded statements of FIPB officials when this deal took place and it is expected that Chidambaram may be confronted with these too next week.

Chidambaram, also a former home minister, had last week approached the court of Special Judge O P Saini seeking relief from arrest by the ED in the case.

The former finance minister was given protection from arrest by the ED till July 10 by the Patiala House Court.

The Aircel-Maxis deal case, which emerged out of 2G spectrum cases, pertains to a grant by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to firm M/S Global Communication Holding Services Ltd for investment in Aircel.

The agency had said that the FIPB approval in the Aircel-Maxis FDI case was granted in March 2006 by Chidambaram even though he was competent to accord approval on project proposals only up to Rs 600 crore and beyond that it required the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).

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