CBI probing FIPB nod for Aircel-Maxis deal, SC told

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New Delhi, April 3 (IANS) The Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday told the Supreme Court that it was investigating the clearance given by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006.

As the investigating agency said that the investigation was in progress and all angles were being looked into, the bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud gave it time till May 2 – the next date of hearing – as it sought to know the progress made it.

In the meantime, the Enforcement Directorate submitted before the court in a sealed cover the report on the progress of its investigation in the matter.

At the outset of the hearing, the investigating agency sought a short adjournment as Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi was not there. At this, Bharatiya Janata Party Leader Subramanian Swamy told the court that he has received a letter from the CBI and it was investigating the matter.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that the investigating agency was probing the matter from all angles and sought two weeks time for further progress.

Giving more time to the investigating agency to carry on with its investigation, the court fixed May 2 for further detailed hearing.

Swamy has alleged that then Finance Minister P. Chidambram had tweaked FIPB norms for clearing Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006.

Seeking a probe into the role of Chidambaram in alleged violation of norms by the FIPB in approving the deal, Swamy has referred to the CAG’s 2015 report which pointed to two alleged illegalities.

According to Swamy, the CAG cited the illegality of FIPB approving Maxis’ acquisition of 93.3 per cent stake in Aircel Tele Ventures Ltd through its wholly-owned subsidiary, the GCSHL, well in excess of the then ceiling of 74 per cent investment by a foreign entity.

The second illegality, Swamy has said, was that since the foreign investment in Aircel was more than Rs 600 crore, it should have gone to the Cabinet Committee for Economic Affairs for approval but it was instead cleared by the FIPB.

–IANS

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