A Delhi court Tuesday extended interim protection from arrest to Congress leader P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram till January 11 in the Aircel Maxis money laundering case filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Special Judge O P Saini extended the relief granted to the duo after the CBI and the ED submitted that new material has been recovered which needs to be collated. It also granted time till January 11 to the CBI to get sanction to prosecute some of the people accused in the case.
On November 26, the CBI had told the court that the Centre had accorded sanction to prosecute the former Finance Minister in the case. In an application filed in the court of O P Saini, the CBI said it had filed a chargesheet in the case against 18 accused, including Chidambaram, on July 19, 2018. “The competent authority in the central government has accorded sanction for prosecution of accused Sh P Chidambaram under Section 197 of CrPC and Section 19 of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (as amended in 2018),” it said.
Chidambaram had filed for anticipatory bail in May this year, and his plea seeking protection from arrest has been extended from time to time. The role of the senior Congress leader and his son is being probed in the Rs 3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal, signed in 2006. The agencies have said Maxis’s investment of US $800 million (then Rs 3,565.91 crore) in an Indian firm, Aircel, was approved by the Foreign Investment Promotional Board (FIPB) under the Finance Ministry, though the ministry, at the time headed by Chidambaram, was authorised to clear FDIs only up to Rs 600 crore. For FDI proposals above Rs 600 crore, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs was the competent authority. The ED said the FIPB under Chidambaram cleared the approvals to Aircel-Maxis deal “fraudulently and dishonestly” as part of “a larger conspiracy”.