Former Union finance minister P Chidambaram had cleared $800-million investment in Aircel by Malaysia-based Maxis without the mandatory approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), the CBI has claimed as it hunts for motive behind the decision.
The agency has told a special CBI court that it is conducting “further investigations” into the circumstances of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval granted by Chidambaram.
After registering a case almost three years ago, the CBI filed the charge sheet last month in which it is alleged that then telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran coerced Aircel owner C Sivasankaran to sell it to Maxis. It was also claimed that Chidambaram approved the deal without adhering to procedures, an allegation he has already rejected.
The CBI said the FIPB approval was granted by Chidambaram on March 13, 2006, and subsequently a letter was sent to Aircel conveying approvals to Ms Global Communication Services Holding Ltd, the Mauritius-based subsidiary of Maxis. Global Communications had sought the approval to invest $800 million.
“It further revealed that the finance minister was competent to accord approval on project proposals up to Rs 600 crore, and beyond that it requires the approval of the CCEA. In the instant case, the approval for FDI of $800 million was sought. Hence, the CCEA was competent to grant approval. However, it was not obtained,” said the charge sheet.