Aircel-Maxis case: Chidambaram denies CBI’s allegation of conspiracy, tampering with evidence

Aircel-Maxis caseChidambaram denies CBI's allegation of conspiracy, tampering with evidence

Former Union Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday gave a statement in Aircel-Maxis case and said that he committed no offence in the grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval.

Chidambaram, in his statement, added that no illegal gratification was received and there was no conspiracy involved. He also said that the approval was granted on the basis of deliberation in the FIPB and recommendations of the same was put up to the finance minister in the normal course of official business.

“Approval was granted on basis of deliberation in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board and recommendations of the FIPB that was put up to the Finance Minister (P Chidambaram) in the normal course of official business,” reads Chidambaram’s reply.

The Central Intelligence Bureau (CBI) had alleged that Chidambaram is an influential person and may influence/tamper with evidence. The former Union Minister replied, “above contentions of CBI is false, speculative, bereft of the details and untenable.”

“CBI had no hesitation in making false allegations against me and summoning me for questioning,” Chidambaram added.

Chidambaram also said that the CBI submitted no evidence to prove that the former may tamper with witness or evidence. “no evidence has been submitted by the CBI in support of its unfounded allegation that the applicant may tamper with the witnesses or evidence,” reads the rejoinder.

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Earlier on November 23, the former finance minister and his son Karti Chidambaram had denied allegations of the CBI and ED that they have been evasive and non-cooperative in the probe in the Aircel-Maxis case.

The rejoinder submissions by the father-son duo have been filed before Special Judge O P Saini.

The Chidambaram’s, in their rejoinders filed through advocates P K Dubey and Arshdeep Singh, said the allegations made by both the CBI and the ED were “unsubstantiated” and there was no need of their custodial interrogation, as sought by the agencies.

The court has extended till November 26 the protection from arrest to both the accused in both the cases filed by the CBI and the ED.

In their replies, both the agencies maintained that Chidambaram’s’ custodial interrogation was necessary as they were evasive and non-cooperative in the probe.

P Chidambaram filed his anticipatory bail application in May this year. His protection from arrest has been extended from time to time.

“We have to meet a deadline and they are not cooperating,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI and the ED, had told the court.

The agencies sought the custodial interrogation of the accused, saying they have not been cooperating and, therefore, making it difficult to complete the investigation in a time-bound manner as directed by the Supreme Court.

The senior Congress leader and his son have come under the scanner of investigating agencies in the Rs 3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal and the INX Media case involving Rs 305 crore.

In its charge sheet filed earlier in the case against former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran and others, the CBI alleged that P Chidambaram granted FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) approval in March 2006 to Mauritius-based Global Communication Services Holdings Ltd, a subsidiary of Maxis.

The Maran brothers and the other accused named in the CBI charge sheet were discharged by the special court, which said the agency had failed to produce any material against them to proceed with the trial.

The ED is also probing a separate money-laundering case in the Aircel-Maxis matter, in which P Chidambaram and Karti have been questioned by the agency and currently their anticipatory bail is pending.