A Delhi court on Tuesday extended till July 10, the interim protection from arrest granted to former Union Minister P Chidambaram in the Aircel Maxis money laundering case. The protection from arrest just before as he was due to appear before the agency for questioning on his role in the alleged scam.
Special CBI judge O P Saini granted anticipatory bail to Karti on the condition that he appear before the investigating officer in the case whenever he is summoned. The court gave three weeks to the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to file replies on Karti’s anticipatory bail pleas and will next hear the matter on April 16.
The Aircel Maxis case, arising out of the 2G spectrum cases, pertains to grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to firm M/S Global Communication Holding Services Ltd for investment in telecom company Aircel, which declared bankruptcy earlier this year.
The ED can, however, summon the Congress leader for questioning. He has already reached the probe agency’s office in Delhi today on an earlier summon.
The case against Karti Chidambaram relates to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval granted in 2006 by his father. The Supreme Court had on March 12 directed investigating agencies, the CBI and the ED, to complete their probe into the 2G spectrum allocation cases, including the Aircel-Maxis alleged money laundering case, in six months.
The agency had said FIPB approval in the Aircel-Maxis foreign direct investment case was granted in March 2006 by Karti Chidambaram even though he was competent to approve project proposals only up to Rs. 600 crore and beyond that it required the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).
The ED has claimed that approval for FDI of $800 million (over Rs. 3,500 crore) was sought and hence the CCEA was the proper authority to grant approval. “However, approval was not obtained from the CCEA,” a senior ED official had said in March.
Here’s a look at the Aircel-Maxis Case:
* The Aircel-Maxis controversy has its roots in the infamous 2G spectrum scam.
* The SC had asked the CBI to investigate Dayanidhi Maran who was the telecom minister before A Raja.
* Maran had to resign from the Union Cabinet in April 2011.
* Aircel is a telecom company owned by C Sivasankaran.
* Maxis is a Malaysian company owned by t Ananda Krishnan.
* In 2006, Maxis acquired Aircel by buying 74% stake.
* Then in April 2011, Sivasankaran complained to the CBI that Maran had arm twisted hi to sell his stake to Maxis.
* In October 2011, the CBI filed an FIR against Maran that alleged that he received Rs 549 crore for favouring Aircel in various deals that were owned by maxis.
* The amount was allegedly received by a company owned by Dayanidhi Maran’s brother, Kalanidhi Maran, who controls the Sun TV network.
* The CBI FIR accuses the Maran brothers of quid pro quo for facilitating the deal for maxis.
* According to the FIR, the media company Astro — belonging to the maxis group — had invested around Rs 600 crore (Rs 6 billion) in a Sun Network venture in 2007.
* May 2014: The CBI told the Supreme Court that there was difference of opinion between the CBI Director and the prosecution regarding filing of the charge sheet. On reference, the Attorney General opined that there was enough prosecutable evidence.
* July 2014: Maxis Communications Berhad on July 25 urged Finance Minister Arun Jaitley that it be treated in a fair manner, citing a contrary opinion by two retired Chief Justices of India.
* August 2014: The CBI on August 29 filed charge sheet against former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanidhi Maran; T. Ananda Krishnan, owner of Malaysian company Maxis; Ralph Marshall, a senior executive of the Maxis Group, and four companies, including the Sun Direct TV Pvt. Ltd.
* February 5, 2015: The Marans moved the Supreme Court challenging the 2G Special Court’s decision to summon them in the Aircel-Maxis case.
* February 6, 2015: Supreme Court recalled its order refusing to entertain petitions of the former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother, Kalanithi Maran, to quash summons in the Aircel-Maxis case issued by a special court trying the 2G spectrum scam.
* February 9, 2015: The Supreme Court refused to intervene with a summons order issued by the 2G Special Court to former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanithi Maran in connection with the Aircel-Maxis deal case.
* March 16, 2015: Marans challenged the jurisdiction of the Special CBI Court over the Aircel-Maxis deal case.
* April 1, 2015: The Enforcement Directorate attached assets estimated at Rs. 742.58 crore held by Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanithi Maran and wife Kaveri Kalanithi.
* August 3, 2015: The CBI told a special court that Malaysian authorities were not “cooperating” in the service of summons against four accused in the Aircel-Maxis deal case after which the judge issued fresh summons.
* August 21, 2015: Supreme Court stays ED move to attach Sun TV assets
* August 25, 2015: The Enforcement Directorate summons two directors of private firm Advantage Strategic Consulting.
* September 9, 2015: CBI files status report.
* January 8, 2016: ED names the Maran brothers, Mr. Kalanithi Maran’s wife Kavery Maran and three others, including two companies as as accused in its charge sheet.
* January 23, 2016: ED summons Ralph Marshall , former non-executive director of Maxis Communications Bhd in Malaysia.
* February 1, 2016: Dayanidhi Maran illegally generated Rs. 742.58 cr, says ED | Kavery Kalanithi participated in money laundering, says ED
* February 27, 2016: Delhi court summons Maran brothers, Kavery Kalanithi as accused