New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to file a detailed status report in the Aircel-Maxis case.
A bench comprising chief justice J.S. Khehar and D.Y. Chandrachud were hearing a plea filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy seeking a probe into the role of former finance minister P. Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006.
The court’s direction came after Swamy said that he has received a reply from CBI stating that it was probing the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to the deal allegedly by then finance minister Chidambaram in 2006.
Swamy had earlier claimed that the deal, which consisted of a foreign direct investment (FDI) of over Rs600 crore, was passed by Chidambaram through clearance from the FIPB.
He added that in a situation where the FDI is anything above Rs600 crore, the clearance should have been obtained from the cabinet committee on economic affairs and not the FIPB. It was also claimed that a foreign company was not allowed to hold more than 74% equity in an Indian company at the time when the deal had taken place in 2006.
Swamy’s plea is a part of a public interest litigation filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), a non-profit organization led by advocate Prashant Bhushan. CPIL had sought to restrain Aircel from trading spectrum granted to it in 2006. Aircel concluded two deals in 2016 with Bharti Airtel Ltd and Reliance Communication Ltd for sharing spectrum.
Aircel is controlled by Malaysia’s Maxis Communications Bhd.