New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a chargesheet against former Union minister P. Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case on Thursday. In addition to Chidambaram, nine others have been accused in the chargesheet – S. Bhaskaraman (chartered accountant of Karti Chidambaram, V. Srinivasan (former CEO of Aircel), Augustus Ralph Marshall (associated with Maxis), Astro All Asia Networks Plc Malaysia, Aircel Televentures Ltd, Maxis Mobile Services Sdn Bhd, Bumi Armada Berhad, Bumi Armada Navigation Sdn Bhd.
The accused are being probed by both the CBI and ED for allegedly conspiring with a foreign firm, Global Communication and Services Holdings Limited, and clearing an illegal Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval. The now defunct FIPB allowed the finance minister to approve foreign investment deals up to only Rs 600 crore, beyond that additional approval needed to be sought by Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). The Aircel-Maxis deal was allegedly worth over Rs 3,500 crore.
The ED had filed a chargesheet against Chidambaram’s son Karti earlier this year. Karti Chidambaram had allegedly controlled two firms that had received a bribe of Rs 1.16 crore in connection with the Aircel-Maxis case.
According to the ED, the chargesheet is based on adequate material evidence in the form of email communications retrieved from the seized digital devices from Karti and his associates.
The material evidences reveal routing of proceeds of crime in the guise of bonafide business deals by the beneficiaries of illegal FIPB approval in the companies of Karti. The investigation has revealed the financial linkage of Karti Chidambaram and P Chidambaram with these companies, it said.
“Their are contradictory and evasive responses, in spite of that ED has collected materials that is corroboratory statements recorded under Section 50 of the PMLA from various persons during the investigation to substantiate the offence of money laundering,” the ED said
CBI Special Judge O.P. Saini fixed November 26 for consideration of the chargesheet.
(with PTI inputs)