ED attaches assets valued at Rs1.16 crore in Aircel-Maxis case
New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday attached fixed deposits and bank account balances worth Rs1.16 crore held by Karti Chidambaram and Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt. Ltd. (ASCPL) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in the Aircel-Maxis case.
The agency has been probing the aspect of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approvals in the Aircel-Maxis foreign direct investments (FDI) granted on 13 March 2006 by then Union finance minister P. Chidambaram. “He was competent to accord approval on project proposals only up to Rs600 crore, and beyond that it required the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). In this case, the approval for FDI of $800 million (over Rs3,500 crore) was sought. However, approval was not obtained from CCEA,” the ED said in a statement.
ED added that investigations showed a payment of Rs26 lakh was made by Aircel Televentures Limited, the seller of equity shares in this deal to ASCPL within a few days of the FIPB approval. “Another sum of approximately Rs90 lakh was received by Chess Management Services Pvt. Ltd (a company promoted by Karti Chidambaram) and A. Palaniappan (nephew of P. Chidambaram) from Maxis Group company allegedly for legal compliance software. These payments were not genuine. Karti Chidambaram controlled ASCPL through S. Bhaskararaman, who was described as chartered accountant,” the ED added.
ED also moved the Supreme Court on Tuesday challenging a Delhi high court order giving interim relief to Karti Chidambaram against his arrest in the ongoing INX Media case. The matter was mentioned before a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.
On 9 March, a Delhi HC bench comprising justices S. Muralidhar and Indermeet Mehta granted protection to Karti from arrest by the ED until 20 March.
Priyanka Mittal and Aditi Singh contributed to the story.