The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday filed a supplementary charge sheet naming senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram as an accused in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case. Mint analyses the charges against him and his son, Karti Chidambaram.
What is the case against the Chidambarams?
The father and son are being probed by ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for allegedly receiving kickbacks to ensure Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance for the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006, when P. Chidambaram was the finance minister. ED said Aircel Televen-tures Ltd paid Karti Chidam-baram-controlled Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt. Ltd (ASCPL) ₹ 26 lakh after the FIPB approval. The sum was received through S. Bhaskararaman, Karti’s chartered accountant.
Does P. Chidambaram face arrest?
P. Chidambaram has been charged under PMLA. The Enforcement Directorate’s charge sheet adds teeth to the agency’s claims of having enough evidence against Chidambaram, before the case goes to trial next month. While the PMLA court is empowered to send the former Union minister to ED custody and eventually to judicial custody if the charges against him are proven, it has granted him interim protection from arrest till 1 November, the next date of hearing in the case. On Thursday, special judge O.P. Saini fixed 26 November for considering the charge sheet in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case.
What action has ED taken against him so far?
In August, ED quizzed and recorded Chidambaram’s statement for the fourth time, a month after he had been granted interim relief from arrest by Delhi’s Patiala House court.
Can Chidambaram’s assets be attached?
Yes. If the prosecution can prove the charges against Chidambaram, ED can move court to attach his assets. In September 2017, it had attached fixed deposits and bank accounts worth ₹ 1.16 crore held by Karti Chidambaram and ASCPL. In March, ED had attached a further ₹ 1.16 crore in fixed and movable assets held by Karti and his company. As per the Centre’s foreign direct investment policy, Chidambaram, who was the finance minister in 2006, was empowered to approve proposals up to ₹ 600 crore only.
What are the other charges against P. Chidambaram?
In the INX Media case, the Enforcement Directorate has said that following investigations it was revealed that Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, the owners of INX Media, had met Chidambaram to clear the loopholes in their FIPB approval worth ₹ 305 crore. Indrani Mukerjea, in her statement to the CBI, said that when she approached the then Union finance minister, he had directed her to his son, Karti Chidambaram.