Aircel-Maxis case: CBI accuses Chidambaram in a fresh chargesheet
P Chidambaram, former finance minister and a top leader of the Congress party, has been accused of corruption by the CBI on July 19 and will stand trial in what is known as the Aircel-Maxis case once the chargesheet is cleared by judge.
The CBI named Chidambaram, 72, along with 18 others in a chargesheet filed in a Delhi’s Patiala House court today, hours ahead of a no-trust vote against Prime Minister Narendra Modi which he is placed to win easily. The Congress is among the opposition parties backing the no-trust vote. Calling the allegations “preposterous”, Chidambaram said the CBI had been “pressured” to file the chargesheet.
The CBI says that the finance minister in the government of Dr Manmohan Singh, Chidambaram misused his office to clear foreign investment deals in exchange for which his son, Karti Chidambaram, was given kickbacks.
Chidambaram has described the charges against his son and him as retribution for his persistent vocal criticism of PM Modi and his policies. He has said all investment approvals granted during his tenure were above board.
He won’t make any public comment he said on Twitter today.
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.
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) July 19, 2018
The CBI says that in 2006, Chidambaram sanctioned the sale of telecom Aircel to Malaysia’s Maxis without following due process. Today’s chargesheet will be reviewed by a judge on July 31.
Karti Chidambaram is already an accused in the case. The chargesheet, filed before special CBI Judge O P Saini mentioned that two sets of money trail were discovered regarding the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance.
The Chidambarams won an appeal last month that prevented their arrest till August 7 on charges of money-laundering the alleged kickbacks paid for the Aircel clearance.
The Chidambarams are accused of similar corruption in a deal dating to 2007 when foreign investment go-ahead was given to INX Media, then owned by Indrani and Peter Mukerjea, who are now both in jail on charges of murdering their daughter from a previous relationship. In May last year, the CBI raided locations in Mumbai, Delhi, Gurugram and Chennai, including the residence of Mr Chidambaram’s son Karti.