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ED questions Chidambaram in Aircel-Maxis case

By Deepika

New Delhi, Aug 31: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday again questioned former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case.

File photo of Chidambaram

This is the fourth time the senior Congress leader is being questioned in the probe. He was last grilled for about six hours on August 24.

Some specific queries on the circumstances and procedures adopted by the now-defunct Foreign Investment Promotion Board are being put to the former Union minister during these sessions, it is learnt.

Chidambaram's son Karti has been questioned twice by the ED in this case.

While the Central Bureau of Investigation has filed a charge sheet in this case involving the politician in July, the ED is expected to file its own prosecution complaint within the next fortnight.

The Aircel-Maxis cases pertains to grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance to firm M/S Global Communication Holding Services Ltd in 2006 for investment in Aircel.

Aircel-Maxis case: Chidambaram gets interim protection from arrest till October 8

The Supreme Court had on March 12 directed investigating agencies the CBI and the ED to complete their probe into the 2G spectrum allocation cases, including the alleged Aircel-Maxis money laundering case, in six months.

The agency had said that the FIPB approval in the Aircel-Maxis FDI case was granted in March 2006 by Mr 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).

ED on witch-hunt in Aircel-Maxis case, says Chidambaram

The ED is investigating "the circumstances of the FIPB approval granted (in 2006) by the then-finance minister". "In the instant case, the approval for FDI of USD 800 million (over Rs 3,500 crore) was sought. Hence, the CCEA was competent to grant the approval. However, the approval was not obtained from the CCEA," the ED had alleged.

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