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'FIPB Approval For Aircel-Maxis Deal Done in Normal Course of Business'

File image of Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram. (Image: PTI)

File image of Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram. (Image: PTI)

Congress leader P. Chidambaram has denied wrong doing in the Aircel-Maxis case, after reports emerged on Monday that BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had told the Supreme Court that the CBI was probing “all angles” in the case including Chidambaram’s role in granting investment clearance to the deal.

Tushar Dhara
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New Delhi: Congress leader P. Chidambaram has denied wrong doing in the Aircel-Maxis case, after reports emerged on Monday that BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had told the Supreme Court that the CBI was probing “all angles” in the case including Chidambaram’s role in granting investment clearance to the deal.

In a statement released on Tuesday the former finance minister said: “CBI has recorded statements from every official who dealt with the case. Everyone including the then secretary and the additional secretary has affirmed that the case was rightly submitted to the Finance Minister who is the competent authority to grant approval, which was granted in the normal course of business.”

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the CBI to file a report on the status of its investigation on the controversial Aircel-Maxis deal case. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) also filed a status report of its ongoing investigation in the money laundering case aspects of the case.

Swamy has alleged that Chidambaram withheld investment clearance for Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006 until his son Karthi Chidambaram received a 5% stake in Aircel. The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) is a body under the Finance Ministry that clears investment proposals.

The Aircel-Maxis deal refers to a series of allegations of kickbacks in the telecom sector, which was part of the wider 2G scam that engulfed the UPA regime. In 2011, former Aircel head C Sivasankaran complained to the CBI that he was being forced by then telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran to sell Aircel to the Malaysia-based Maxis Communications group owned by T Ananda Krishnan.

Sivasankaran also alleged that the Maran brothers — Dayanidhi and Kalanidhi — received kickbacks in the form of investments by the Maxis group through the Astro network in their flagship media house, the Sun TV Network.

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