Delhi Court adjourns Aircel-Maxis case against P Chidambaram sine die

 A Delhi court on Friday adjourned Aircel-Maxis case, involving former Union Minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti, sine die, noting that the CBI and the ED were seeking repeated adjournments.

Special Judge O P Saini adjourned the matter without giving any date for further hearing, saying that the prosecution may approach the court as and when the probe is complete.

The court on Thursday granted anticipatory bail to Chidambarams in the corruption case filed by the CBI as well as in the money laundering matter lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in relation to the Aircel-Maxis deal.

The matter was listed for arguments on the cognizance of chargesheet in the case.

However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Special Public Prosecutor Nitesh Rana, appearing for the CBI and the ED respectively, sought adjournment on the ground that response to Letters Rogatory (LRs) were awaited.

The agencies requested the court to adjourn the matter for first week in October.

“Prosecution seeking date after dates. Matter deferred sine die. Prosecution asked to approach the Court as and when the investigation is complete and as and when they receive Letters Rogatory (LRs) from various countries,” the court said.

CBI and the ED are probing how Karti Chidambaram received clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006 when his father was Union finance minister.

CBI and the Enforcement Directorate had alleged that the Congress leader, as finance minister during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime, granted approval to the deal beyond his capacity benefitting certain persons, and received kickbacks.

Aircel-Maxis case: Protection from arrest to former Union minister P Chidambaram and Karti Chidambaram extended till April 26

A Delhi court Monday extended till April 26 the interim protection from arrest granted to former Union minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti in the Aircel-Maxis case filed by the CBI and the ED.

P Chidambaram appeared before Special Judge O P Saini, who extended the interim relief granted to them.

The case relates to alleged irregularities in grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval in the Aircel-Maxis deal.

Aircel-Maxis case : Chidambaram seeks early hearing of his anticipatory bail plea

Former Union minister P Chidambaram Monday accused the CBI and the ED of “delaying” Aircel-Maxis cases in a Delhi court, which extended interim protection from arrest granted to him and his son Karti till March 8.

The senior Congress leader, who was present in the courtroom, requested Special Judge O P Saini to grant an early hearing on his anticipatory bail applications as well as the charge sheet filed in the cases lodged by CBI and the Enforcement Directorate.

Chidambaram’s party colleague and senior advocate Kapil Sibal made the submission on his behalf after the ED sought adjournment in the matter.

ED told the court that it has asked Karti Chidambaram, an accused along with his father, to appear before it on March 5, 6, 7 and 12 for questioning in the case.

“Let the matter be fixed after March 12, since he has to appear before ED on March 5, 6, 7 and 12,” senior advocate Sonia Mathur, appearing for ED and the CBI, told the court.

Karti was not appearing before the ED which led the Supreme Court to pass an order, asking him to make himself available before the agency, the agency’s Special Public Prosecutors, N K Matta and Nitesh Rana, told the court.

Sibal opposed the submissions made by the CBI and the ED seeking adjournment in the case and sought early hearing of his anticipatory bail application.

“I (P Chidambaram) oppose the request (of ED). The agencies (ED and CBI) are delaying the matter. The charge sheet has already been filed in the case. And it is only Karti who has been summoned, so the application (anticipatory bail plea) of P Chidambaram can be entertained,” the counsel said.

Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Karti, also sought early hearing on his anticipatory bail application and the charge sheet against him by the CBI and the ED.

After the submission made by both the parties, the court said, “I have been requesting both parties to expedite the matter but the date is not fixed yet. Put up the matter for March 8.”

The counsels for Chidambarams, thereafter, requested to extend the protection granted to them, which was allowed by the court.

The case relates to alleged irregularities in grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval in the Aircel-Maxis deal.

Father-son duo had approached the court through advocates P K Dubey and Arshdeep Singh seeking anticipatory bail, claiming that they were afraid of arrest in both the cases being probed by the ED and the CBI.

Their protection from arrest has been extended from time to time.

The CBI had earlier informed the court that the Centre has granted sanction to prosecute five people, including serving and former bureaucrats, accused in the Aircel-Maxis case including the Chidambarams.

The CBI had on November 16 last year informed the court that similar nod was procured for Chidambaram. There are 18 accused in the case.

Chidambaram and Karti were named in the charge sheet filed by the CBI in the case on July 19 last year. The agency filed a supplementary charge sheet before the special judge, who had fixed it for consideration on July 31.

The CBI is probing how Chidambaram, who was the Union finance minister in 2006, granted FIPB approval to a foreign firm, when only the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) was empowered to do it.

CBI and ED, in their replies to the anticipatory bail pleas of Chidambarams, had recently told the court that custodial interrogation of both the accused was required since various new materials have surfaced after filing of the charge sheet, alleging that they were not cooperating in the probe.

The father-son duo recently denied the allegations of both the agencies that they were evasive and non-cooperative during the probe in the case, and said the allegations against them were “unsubstantiated” and there was no need of their custodial interrogation.

The agencies have sought the custodial interrogation of both 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 present case against former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran and others, the CBI alleged that P Chidambaram granted FIPB 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 the Chidambarams have been questioned by the agency and their anticipatory bail is pending.

ED files additional charge sheet against P. Chidambaram in Aircel-Maxis case

NEW DELHI: Fomenting trouble for senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, has been named as an accused in a supplementary chargesheet filed by Enforcement Directorate in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case.

The agency has named nine accused in the case including Chidambaram, S Bhaskaraman and four Maxis companies under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Earlier on October 8, a Delhi Court, extended the interim protection from arrest granted to former Union Minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti till November 1, in the Aircel-Maxis case filed by the CBI and the ED.

Among those arraigned are S. Bhaskararaman, Aircel Televentures Limited; V Srinivasan, Astro All Asia Networks Plc (Malaysia); Maxis Mobile Sdn Bhd (Malaysia); and Augustus Ralph Marshall, a resident of Malaysia. Bumi Armada Berhad and Bumi Armada Navigation Sdn Bhd, Malaysia, have also been named.

The chargesheet filed by the ED will reportedly be considered by the Delhi court on November 26. CBI Special Judge OP Saini fixed November 26 for consideration of the chargesheet. However Mr. Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram had denied all the charges.

Aircel-Maxis case: ED moves Delhi Court for custodial interrogation of Karti Chidambaram

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court today sought a response from Karti Chidambaram son of former Union minister P Chidambaram in a Aircel Maxis money laundering. The plea came after the court extended the interim protection of the father-son duo till October 8 last week.

Special CBI judge O P Saini asked Karti to file his response by September 18 on the plea of the ED which alleged that the son of senior Congress leader has violated the condition imposed by the court while granting relief.

The probe agency has alleged that Mr Chidambaram was not cooperating with the investigation. In its plea, the ED said that even during investigation, Karti had either remained silent or answered after consulting his lawyers.ED is also probing a separate money-laundering case in the Aircel-Maxis matter and a charge sheet was filed against Karti Chidambaram by the agency on July 13.

The senior Congress leader’s role has 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.Both Karti Chidambaram and P Chidambaram have denied allegations in the matter.

Govt free to probe charges against ED officer probing Aircel-Maxis case: SC

New Delhi: No officer should be under a “cloud” and blanket clean chit cannot be given to anybody, the Supreme Court observed today, as it told the government that it was free to look into the “serious” allegations against ED officer Rajeshwar Singh, who is probing the “highly sensitive” 2G spectrum case and the Aircel-Maxis deal.

A vacation bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Sanjay Kishan Kaul, which was of the view that the sensitive matter involved national security, said the allegations against Singh were required to be looked into and the government should take a call whether he would have any role to play in the further probe.

Modifying its interim order granting Singh protection against an inquiry, the court referred to the Centre’s affidavit which stated that it did not intend to protect anybody, including the high or the mighty, and observed that it was nobody’s case that government was “seeking to thwart the investigation”.

The bench said it was “troubled” with the Centre’s response as documents placed before it in a sealed cover contained “startling” facts.

“We direct that the government is free to look into the materials against respondent number 3 (Rajeshwar Singh) and the same can be looked into,” the bench ordered.

“… It will be the call of the government whether Singh will have any role to play in the matter,” it said, referring that a charge sheet has already been filed in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

During the arguments, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Vikramjit Banerjee, appearing for the Centre, said the government was willing to probe the charges that Singh had amassed disproportionate assets, as he handed over a communication in a sealed cover to the bench.

“Of course, the Supreme Court’s order (granting protection to Singh against inquiry) comes in our way,” the ASG said.

After perusing the document, the bench observed, “As a matter of fact, when there is an allegation, whether right or wrong, against you (Singh), it has to be looked into”.

“The other issue is that you should not be victimised. The third point is whether it would be appropriate for you to investigate when you are under a cloud and under investigation,” the bench said, adding “the things which have come before us are startling”.

“You are simply an officer. You can’t be given a blanket clean chit. Everybody is accountable. You must be accountable for any action. We need to ensure that you are accountable. We don’t want to damage you or comment against you. There are very serious allegations against you,” it told the officer. It also made it clear that it has not commented against anybody.

The bench noted that the government had assured that the probe in these cases would be done as per the time schedule fixed by the top court which, on March 12, had given a deadline of six months to the CBI and ED to complete the probe.

Senior advocate R S Suri, appearing for Singh, told the bench that there was a serious issue of maintainability of the plea filed by Rajneesh Kapur, who claims to be an investigative journalist who is seeking a probe against Singh for allegedly amassing assets which are disproportionate to his known source of income.

To this, the bench said, “We had given six months time (to CBI and ED to complete the ongoing investigation) and protection was granted (to Singh). This matter is highly sensitive from the country’s point of view. We cannot just divulge the content of this (communication in sealed cover) to anybody. It may prejudice your client (Singh) also. It is not advisable that it goes into public domain.”

“It is highly sensitive. Issues of nation’s security are involved. These are serious issues. We cannot shut our eyes to it,” the bench observed.

“The sensitive issue is the government’s response which has troubled us. Something very serious is there. We cannot say that ‘leave the matter’ or tie the hands of the government,” it said.

“Let there be a fair investigation and person, who is investigating, according to my opinion, should not have a cloud over him,” Justice Mishra observed.

At the outset, Kapur’s counsel claimed that after filing the plea, Kapur has been “gravely threatened” and sought protection for him. He also claimed that Singh has the “clout” and the top court’s earlier order says no action can be taken against this officer.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who had filed a plea seeking to be impleaded as a party in Kapur’s plea, said Singh was promoted to the post of Joint Director in ED and full evaluation was done for it around two years ago.

To this, the bench said the issue of promotion of an officer was a personal thing.

Swamy, however, alleged that a top officer was “inimical” to Singh due to what had happened in the Nirav Modi’s case and he was willing to put it on an affidavit.

When the bench ordered that no personal insinuations should be made, Swamy said, “I am withdrawing it”.

He said that allegations were levelled against Singh but the probe agencies had given him a clean chit. “You could always call for a report from CBI, ED or any other agency and then come to a conclusion whether it is motivated or has some substance,” Swamy said.

The court disposed of the petitions filed by Kapur, Swamy and Singh, who had filed a separate plea seeking contempt action against Kapur.

ED raids Karti Chidambaram’s premises in Delhi and Chennai

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) today conducted searches at multiple premises linked to Karti Chidambaram, the son of Congress leader P Chidambaram, in connection with its money laundering probe in the Aircel- Maxis case.

Official sources said the raids are being conducted in Delhi and Chennai since early morning.

The central probe agency, on December 1 last year, had conducted similar searches on the premises of a relative of Karti and others in this case.

The ED case pertains to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval granted in 2006 by the then finance minister P Chidambaram.

The agency had said it is investigating the circumstances of the said FIPB approval granted by the then finance minister (P Chidambaram)”.

The ED also alleged that Karti has “disposed” of a property in Gurgaon, which he had allegedly rented out to a multinational company “to whom foreign direct investment (FDI) approval had been granted in 2013”.

It charged that Karti had “also closed certain bank accounts and attempted to close other bank accounts in order to frustrate the process of attachment” under the PMLA.

The agency said FIPB approval in the Aircel-Maxis FDI case was granted in March, 2006 by the then FM 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).

“In the instant case, the approval for FDI of 800 million USD (over Rs 3,500 crore) was sought. Hence, CCEA was competent to grant approval.

“However, approval was not obtained from CCEA,” it alleged.

Source : PTI

Aircel-Maxis case: SC seeks status reports on probe

Aircel-Maxis case: SC seeks status reports on probe
Aircel-Maxis case: SC seeks status reports on probe

The Supreme Court today asked the CBI, the ED and the special public prosecutor appointed by it in the 2G spectrum scam case to file a status report on the probe carried out by ED officer Rajeshwar Singh in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

It said that it wanted to know against whom what investigation was pending or had been completed and what was the stage of the probe in the case.

A bench of justices Arun Mishra and M M Shantanagoudar said that this matter had not come before the court for a while and, therefore, it wanted to know the status of the investigation.

“You file a status report on the investigation done so far, against whom it is pending or complete. We want everything. File it by the next date of hearing on January 4,” it told Special Public Prosecutor Anand Grover and the counsel for the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

The bench made it clear that “the case needs to proceed further and it does not matter whether Rajeshwar Singh is there or not” and that there should not be any delay.

The court also allowed BJP leader Subramanian Swamy to file a note after he sought permission to file it with regard to Singh and the probe in the case.

On November 1, the apex court had restrained the government from taking any immediate action against Rajeshwar Singh, probing the multi-crore rupees Aircel-Maxis case and the 2G spectrum scam, following some anonymous complaints against him.

The court’s direction had came after Singh alleged there was a “conspiracy” behind filing of “frivolous anonymous complaints” against him with the revenue secretary saying these were being entertained by the ED.

He had said that such complaints were filed after the recent attachment of assets worth Rs 1.16 crore allegedly of the accused in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

Though the name of the accused in Aircel-Maxis deal case was not taken by Singh’s counsel, on September 23, the ED had reportedly attached assets worth Rs 1.16 crore of Karti Chidambaram, son of former finance minister P Chidambaram, and a firm allegedly linked to him in connection with its money laundering probe in connection with the deal.

The court had issued notices to the CBI, the ED and the Department of Telecom and sought their response in three weeks.

Singh had told the court that it should direct a CBI probe into the alleged conspiracy of filing of complaints or for relieving him from the investigation of the 2G scam case.

He said earlier too, several attempts were made to interfere with the 2G scam investigation but the court had always protected him.

Singh had said that he was an Uttar Pradesh cadre police official on deputation to the Enforcement Directorate and his promotion in the service was due, which could be hampered due to such complaints.

( Source – PTI )

Karti moves SC against CBI summon in Aircel-Maxis case

Karti moves SC against CBI summon in Aircel-Maxis case
Karti moves SC against CBI summon in Aircel-Maxis case

Karti Chidambaram, son of Congress leader P Chidambaram, today moved Supreme Court challenging the summons issued by the CBI against him in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

The top court said it will hear the matter in the second week of January.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud asked Karti to serve the copy of the petition to the CBI counsel.

During the brief hearing, special 2G case prosecutor Anand Grover complained to the bench that the CBI has taken the papers served to him by Karti.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for CBI, said that Grover had nothing to do with the case as the probe agency was investigating the matter.

Grover said he is the court-appointed special prosecutor in the 2G spectrum case and needed a copy of the petition.

The bench asked the both the counsel to sort out the matter and deferred the hearing for second week of January.

The CBI had issued a summon in September to Karti asking him to appear before it for questioning on October 4 in the Aircel-Maxis case, which he has challenged.

The agency had earlier asked Karti to appear on September 14, but he had refused arguing that a special court had already discharged all the accused and terminated proceedings in the matter.

The CBI had contradicted the claim, saying the investigation was still on.

Karti had appeared before the CBI in another case related to the grant of FIPB clearance given to the INX Media at a time when his father was the Union Finance Minister.

( Source – PTI )

Aircel-Maxis case: SC asks CBI to file status report of probe

Aircel-Maxis case: SC asks CBI to file status report of probe
Aircel-Maxis case: SC asks CBI to file status report of probe

The Supreme Court today asked the CBI to file a report detailing the status of probe being carried out on various aspects of the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) also filed in a sealed cover the status report of its ongoing investigation in the money laundering case relating to the deal before a bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud.

The bench deferred the hearing by three weeks on the request made by Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the CBI, that Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi was not available.

During the brief hearing, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy told the bench that he has received a reply from CBI stating that it was probing “all angles”, including the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to the deal allegedly by then Finance Minister P Chidambaram in 2006.

Swamy said the CBI should be asked to file a status report in the case, after which the bench asked Mehta to do the needful before the next date of hearing.

Mehta told the court that they needed two weeks to file the status report following which the bench posted the matter for hearing on May 2.

Later, Swamy told reporters outside the courtroom that he has provided all the information to the agencies regarding the alleged money transfer to Karti Chidambaram’s purported foreign bank accounts by the beneficiaries of the deal.

In his application, Swamy has alleged that Chidambaram had illegally granted FIPB clearance to Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006.

He has claimed that the then finance minister had given FIPB clearance to the deal which should have been referred to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), headed by the Prime Minister, as the CCEA alone was empowered to clear foreign investments over Rs 600 crore.

“The money transaction involved in the process was around Rs 3,500 crore. FIPB clearance was given by the then finance minister, who should have sent it to the CCEA as the investment was way over Rs 600 crore,” he had said.

He had referred to CBI charge sheet in Aircel-Maxis deal case and said that the agency had said that the Finance Minister was competent to give approval of upto Rs 600 crore.

A special court had discharged former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his industralist brother Kalanithi Maran and others who were chargesheeted by the CBI and ED in connection with the Aircel-Maxis case and a money-laundering matter relating to the deal.

( Source – PTI )