ED files charge-sheet against Chidambaram in Aircel-Maxis case

ed-files-charge-sheet-against-chidambaram-in-aircel-maxis-caseEnforcement Directorate on Thursday tightened its noose around former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, filing a charge-sheet against him in a Delhi court in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case. The agency has accused Chidambaram of conspiring with foreign investors to clear their venture. It has also named S Bhaskaraman, chartered accountant of Chidambaram’s son Karti. Both Chidambaram and Karti have denied the allegations levelled against them by the CBI and the ED. The others named in the charge-sheet filed before Special Judge OP Saini are: V Srinivasan (former CEO of Aircel), Augustus Ralph Marshall (associated with Maxis), Astro All Asia Networks Plc Malaysia, Aircel Televentures Ltd, Maxis Mobile Services Sdn Bhd, Bumi Armada Berhad and Bumi Armada Navigation Sdn Bhd. The court has fixed November 26 for consideration of the charge-sheet.
The agency has charged the accused under sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PLMA). If found guilty, they would be liable to a jail term of up to seven years along with a fine. The nine persons named in the chargesheet are accused of money laundering of ₹1.16 crore in lieu of illegal approval by the erstwhile Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) accorded by Chidambaram in March 2006. The approval was given to foreign firm Global Communication and Services Holdings Ltd, Mauritius, (a subsidiary of Maxis) in violation of the various rules and regulations governing the FDI policy in India. Chidambaram was empowered to give approval to proposals involving foreign investment up to ₹600 crore only, said the ED. Global Communication’s investment was to the tune of $800 million, which amounted to about ₹3,560 crore (when $1 was ₹44.5), it added.

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