The Supreme Court Friday asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) if it proposed to examine former finance minister P. Chidambaram on the clearance given to the Aircel-Maxis deal over which a charge sheet had been filed in August.
A bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice S.A. Bobde asked senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the CBI, to apprise the court on this count at the next hearing, fixed for Oct 16.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramaniam Swamy told the court that while charge sheet on deal had already been filed, there seemed to be no progress on CBI’s part to seek clarifications on the nod given by Chidambram following the recommendation by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).
In August, the CBI had filed the charge sheet against former communications minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran, T Ananda Krishnan and others in the Aircel-Maxis deal.
The CBI in its charge sheet in Aircel-Maxis deal had told the special court trying 2G cases that Mauritius-based subsidiary of Maxis, had sought approval for $800 million for which Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) was competent to do so.
“However, the approval was granted by the then finance minister. Further investigation is being carried out into the circumstances of the said FIPB approval granted by the then finance minister. The related issues are also being investigated,” the charge sheet had said.
Soon after the filing of the charge sheet, Chidambram in a statement had said: “In the Aircel-Maxis case, the FIPB sought the approval of the finance minister in accordance with the rules. The case was submitted through the additional secretary and secretary, DEA (Department of Economic Affairs). Both of them recommended the case for approval. Approval was granted by me, as finance minister, in the normal course.”
The original owner of the Aircel C. Sivasankaran had alleged that he was coerced to sell Aircel to Maxis, owned by T. Ananda Krishnan in 2006, as the telecom company was denied licences. The CBI has alleged quid pro quo saying that in return the Malaysian company invested Rs. 650 crores in Sun TV owned by the Maran family.
The court adjourned the hearing directing the listing of the matter Oct 16 as Special Public Prosecutor Anand Grover who was to address the court on several issues connected with the 2G case said he would not be able to do so in one go Friday.
The court said that it would like to hear the views of the special public prosecutor on the issues before the court in one go only and not in parts.
Grover was appointed special public prosecutor to lead CBI cases in 2G scam cases before the special court after incumbent U.U.Lalit was appointed judge of the apex court.