AS AIADMK and BJD members disrupted Parliament for the second day on Wednesday, seeking a CBI probe into the Aircel-Maxis deal which they linked to former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley asserted that there are “no holy cows” and action will be taken against the guilty.
“No one will be spared. We have no holy cows to protect. The government is going to the root of each one of these cases,” said Jaitley.
He said the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and investigative wing of the Income Tax department, during recent searches, recovered several “incriminating” documents which are being scrutinised and chargesheets will be filed. He said details of assets held by certain entities in India and abroad have also been obtained.
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“Pursuant to that entire information, witnesses are being recorded, those documents are being analysed, Letters Rogatory have been sent by the ED to several countries,” he noted.
“Whatever was the stand of the earlier government, we have not been influenced by that stand at all. The investigative agencies have absolute freedom to professionally record the entire evidence and if they come to an opinion that some people are prima facie guilty, the investigating agencies are free to take action,” he said.
“It all started with the infamous 2G case. Then, the extension of the case was… it led to the Aircel-Maxis issue which has now further led to a third category of cases,” said Jaitley. “All I can say is that whatever action has to be taken under the law, under different provisions, once the violation is detected, investigations will be taken to their logical conclusion,” he said.
Jaitley said on January 8, a chargesheet and a complaint was been filed in court by the ED and on February 27, the court took cognizance of that chargesheet. “Notices have gone to the various accused who will now be tried in the Aircel-Maxis case and they will have to face trial and (it is) eventually for the court to decide,” he said.
Jaitley was replying to a short duration discussion on the Aircel-Maxis deal in the wake of the demand for action by AIADMK members.
Demanding a CBI probe into the “shady deal”, the AIADMK linked it to the 2G case. AIADMK’s T J Venkatesh repeatedly referred to two former DMK union ministers and a former finance minister in the UPA-II by taking their names but Speaker Sumitra Mahajan expunged them from his speech.
The debate was taken up amid protests from Congress and Left members, with the Speaker saying she had got BJD leader Bhartruhari Mahtab’s notice for a discussion on the issue and she was allowing it.
Congress and Left members protested against the discussion being taken up when the Motion of Thanks on the President’s address was still being debated. Congress members were heard protesting against the “match-fixing” between a section of the opposition and the government.
Congress and Left members later staged a walkout when Venkatesh started speaking after Mahtab initiated the debate.
Mahtab claimed that no FIR has been lodged yet and the CBI and ED had not filed chargesheet so far, despite the fact that the money laundering trail in the deal allegedly spread to 14 countries including British Virgin Islands.
Stating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power on the promise of unearthing black money, Venkatesh said: “But now, we are pained to see the slow progress in the cases in respect of 2G and Aircel-Maxis deal, non-cooperation of officials concerned, the arm-twisting and other tactics being followed, to deny justice.”
The AIADMK MP sought a “detailed investigation” into the deal and the “huge disproportionate assets owned by Karti Chidambaram”.
In the Rajya Sabha, soon after the House met for the day, AIADMK members marched into the Well demanding action on the Aircel-Maxis deal. Meanwhile, Congress members also raised slogans about an alleged scam in which business associates of Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel’s daughter, Anar Patel, allegedly got 422 acres of land in 2010 from the state government at Rs 15 per square metre.
Amid the din, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said if AIADMK members gave a notice for discussion, the government was ready to take up the issue raised by them as “this issue is very serious.”
“We are ready for a discussion on the questions being raised across the country, and will give our reply on it. Our stand is that stringent action should be taken against whoever is responsible,” Naqvi said.
With AIADMK members continuing to shout slogans, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “Sir, whatever is happening since yesterday is government sponsored. I raised it yesterday and I would like to repeat it today.”