New Delhi, July 4 (IANS) A court here on Wednesday deferred to July 6 the hearing on consideration of the ED chargesheet against former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram and two companies in a money laundering case in the Aircel-Maxis deal.
On June 13, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) chargesheeted Karti and Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt Ltd (ASCPL) and Chess Management Services Pvt Ltd (CMSPL) companies under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED are investigating Karti’s alleged role in getting Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance for the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006 when his father was the Union Finance Minister.
Karti, who has been granted interim protection against arrest by a special court till July 10, promoted CMSPL, the ED chargesheet said. It alleged that ASCPL was set up on Karti’s directions.
The chargesheet claimed that Maxis invested $800 million (Rs 3,565.91 crore) as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) whereas the Finance Minister’s powers to give approval for FDI was limited to Rs 600 crore at the said time.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) was the competent authority for FDI proposals of over Rs 600 crore, the agency said.
“In this case, the FDI was projected as Rs 180 crore, which was the par value of the shares acquired by Maxis, whereas the FDI was actually Rs 3,565.91 crore,” the ED said.
CMSPL received Rs 90 lakh from Maxis and its associate Malaysian companies allegedly for software services, the ED said.
ASCPL received Rs 26 lakh from Aircel Televenture Ltd, the Indian company which sold shares to Maxis.
On August 29, 2014, the CBI had filed a chargesheet alleging that between July 2004 and September 2008, then Minister Dayanidhi Maran in the UPA-I government used his influence to help Malaysian businessman T.A. Ananda Krishnan buy Aircel by coercing its owner Sivasankaran to part with his stakes in the firm.
Sivasankaran alleged that Maran favoured the Krishnan-owned Maxis Group in the takeover of his company. In return, he alleged, Maxis made investments through Astro Network, a sister concern, in Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd (SDTPL) owned by the Maran family.
However, a special court had dropped charges against former Communication Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi and others in the alleged kickback of Rs 742 crore in the Aircel-Maxis deal, saying that the “perception or suspicion” was not backed by concrete evidence.
Karti is also an accused in the INX Media case wherein he has been charged with receiving irregular FIPB clearance for investments up to Rs 305 crore.