The Enforcement Directorate has said that P Chidambaram, former union minister was part of the conspiracy to give FIPB clearance to Aircel-Maxis in a bid to avoid a reference to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs and ensure that it was cleared by the finance ministry.
In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the ED said that it had questioned senior officials who were posted in the FIPB who were part of the conspiracy. We questioned the then secretary, additional secretary, deputy and undersecretary, the affidavit also noted.
The ED said that Aircel sought permission to bring in FDI of Rs 3,500 crore in 2006. The finance ministry had then suppressed the figure to make the case that the telecom company was seeking clearance for getting only Rs 180 crore in foreign direct investment to avoid the matter being referred to the CCEA.
The rules stated foreign investment of Rs 600 crore could be cleared by the finance ministry could be cleared by the finance minister through FIPB. The ED further alleged that Karti Chidambaram was paid Rs 26 lakh on April 11, 2006, for FIPB approval granted to Aircel.
Further, the ED stated that it screened 2,721 FIPB files pertaining to the period between May 2004 and 2009 and August 2012 and May 2014, before focusing on 54 of those which concerned approvals by Chidambaram for FDI, including in the Aircel case.