P Chidambaram. Photo: HT
P Chidambaram. Photo: HT

Aircel-Maxis case: Protection from arrest to Chidambaram, son extended till Jan 11

Delhi court also granted the CBI time till January 11 to secure sanction to prosecute some of the people accused in the case

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Tuesday extended till January 11 the protection from arrest granted to former Union minister P Chidambaram and his son in the Aircel-Maxis case.

Special judge O.P. Saini extended the relief granted to Chidambaram and his son Karti after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) submitted that new material had been recovered, and it only needed to be collated.

It also granted the CBI time till January 11 to secure sanction to prosecute some of the people accused in the case.

The CBI had on November 26 told the court that the Centre had granted sanction to prosecute P Chidambaram.

The case relates to alleged irregularities in the approval of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in the Aircel-Maxis deal.

There are 18 accused in the case. Besides Chidambaram, sanction is required for the prosecution of five public servants.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, had earlier requested the court to extend the protection of the former Union minister and co-accused Karti in both cases filed by the CBI and the ED.

The father and the son had recently denied the allegations of both the agencies that they were evasive and non-cooperative during the probe in the case. They said the allegations against them were “unsubstantiated" and there was no need of their custodial interrogation.

The CBI and the ED, in their replies to the anticipatory bail pleas of Chidambarams, had alleged that they were not cooperating in the investigation.

P Chidambaram had filed his anticipatory bail application in May this year. His protection from arrest had been extended from time to time.

The agencies sought the custodial interrogation of both the accused, saying they had not been cooperating and, therefore, making it difficult to complete the investigation in a time-bound manner as directed by the Supreme Court.

The senior Congress leader and his son came under the scanner of investigating agencies in the 3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal and the INX Media case involving 305 crore.

In its charge sheet filed earlier in the case against former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran and others, the CBI had alleged that P Chidambaram granted FIPB approval in March 2006 to Mauritius-based Global Communication Services Holdings Ltd, a subsidiary of Maxis.

The Maran brothers and the other accused named in the CBI charge sheet were discharged by the special court, which said the agency had failed to produce any material against them to proceed with the trial.

The ED is also probing a separate money-laundering case in the Aircel-Maxis matter, in which P Chidambaram and Karti have been questioned by the agency and currently their anticipatory bail is pending.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed