ED Files Chargesheet in Aircel-Maxis Case, Names Karti Chidambaram Among Others
Karti named in ED Chargesheet | (Photo credits: ANI)

New Delhi, June 13: Former Union finance minister P Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram has been named in the Enforcement Directorate (ED) chargesheet in the Aircel-Maxis deal case. The chargesheet was filed before the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court today. ED has also named Ravi Viswanathan and the Padma - Directors of Advantage Strategic Consultancy Ltd, Advantage Strategic Consultancy Pvt Ltd, Annamalai Palaniappan - Director Chess Mgmt Services Pvt Ltd and Chess Management Services Pvt Ltd in the chargesheet filed today.

According to news reports, P Chidambaram was also grilled in connection with the Aircel-Maxis cases for almost five hours earlier last month. On Tuesday, he appeared before the ED for the second time for a fresh round of questioning about his alleged role in the money laundering case. The Patiala House Court has given the former finance minister protection from arrest till July 10.

The agency has alleged granting of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to the firm M/S Global Communication Holding Services Ltd in 2006 for investment in Aircel. The investigating agency believes that the FIPB approval in the Aircel-Maxis FDI case was granted in March 2006 by Chidambaram even though he was competent to grant permission on project proposals only up to Rs 600 crore, and beyond that, it required the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). Now the ED is probing the circumstances of the FIPB approval granted (in 2006) by the then finance minister.

The agency also alleged in its claim that Aircel Televentures Limited made payment of Rs 26 lakh to ASCPL, a firm allegedly linked to Karti, son of P Chidambaram within a few days of this FIPB approval.

The agency further said its probe revealed that a firm, CMSPL, promoted by Karti and P Chidambaram's nephew A Palaniappan, received a sum of about USD 0.2 million from the Maxis group allegedly for procuring a legal compliance software. However, the software was designed only for use in India and hence, was of no use to a Malaysian company.

In September last year, the ED had attached assets worth Rs 1.16 crore of Karti and the firm allegedly linked to him in connection with this case. Also, former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran and four others were named in the chargesheet for their alleged involvement in the year 2016. However, the court later discharged them in both ED and CBI case pertaining to same Aircel-Maxis deal. The agency has now appealed against the order in the Madras High Court.

Karti was arrested on February 28 at the Chennai airport upon his return from the United Kingdom, for his alleged role in the case and is out on bail currently.