New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday named senior Congress leader and former finance minister in the UPA government, P. Chidambaram, and his son Karti Chidambaram as accused in its supplementary charge sheet in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.
The charge sheet, which names Chidambaram as an accused for the first time, was filed before special CBI judge O.P. Saini after two money trails of ₹ 26 lakh and ₹ 87 lakh to Karti Chidambaram’s firms, Chess Management and Advantage Strategic, were confirmed.
The charge sheet also names 16 other co-accused, including former finance secretaries Ashok Chawla, Ashok Jha, former Aircel CEO V. Srinivasanand, Maxis owners T. Ananda Krishnan and Ralph Marshal. It will be taken up by the CBI judge on 31 July.
“CBI has been pressured to file a charge sheet to support a preposterous allegation against me and officers with a sterling reputation. The case is now before the Hon’ble Court and it will be contested vigorously. I shall make no more public comment," Chidambaram tweeted soon after the charge sheet was filed.
In the first charge sheet in the Aircel-Maxis case filed in 2014, the CBI had mentioned that it was probing certain irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approvals granted to foreign firms when Chidambaram was the finance minister.
All the accused in the first charge sheet, including former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, were acquitted by a Delhi CBI court in February 2017.
The father-son duo were being investigated by the CBI as well as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for allegedly receiving kickbacks to ensure FIPB clearance for the ₹ 3,500 crore Aircel-Maxis deal. In June, the ED had filed a charge sheet before a Delhi sessions court against Karti Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. The Chidambarams are also being investigated in the ₹ 305 crore INX Media case.
In March, the Supreme Court had directed the CBI and the ED to complete their investigations into the alleged irregularities in FIPB approval in the Aircel-Maxis deal. Chidambaram and his son have interim protection from arrest in the Aircel-Maxis case till 7 August.