Procured sanction to prosecute Chidambaram:CBI to court

Procured sanction to prosecute Chidambaram:CBI to court

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram. PTI Photo 

The government has given sanction to prosecute former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis case, the CBI informed a court here on Monday.

Special CBI Judge O P Saini posted the next date of hearing on December 18 even as he also extended the protection from arrest to Chidambaram and his son Karti till December 18.

The judge also granted three weeks to the CBI to get sanction against some other people who are accused in the case. Of the 18 accused in the case, sanction is required for the prosection of five public servants besides Chidambaram.

"The competent authority in the central government has accorded sanction for the prosecution of accused P Chidambaram under section 197 of CrPC and section 19 of Prevention of Corruption Act... Sanction for prosecution in respect of remaining accused public servants (five) are still awaited," Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the court.

In its application, the CBI said the court's refusal to grant more time to obtain the sanction "in a matter pertaining to such serious offences, may frustrate the cause of justice".

"In view of the facts and circumstances stated above, it is most humbly and respectfully prayed that the prosecution sanction received from the competent authority in the central government in respect of accused P Chidambaram may kindly be taken on record and a further time may be given to file sanction for prosecution in respect of remaining accused public servants," it said.

Mehta told the court that Chidambaram "misled" the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is probing money laundering in the Aircel-Maxis, by making "false" statement.

"He suppressed information about the bank accounts in other countries and the money received from various sources. Custodial interrogation is required since various new materials have surfaced after filing of the charge sheet," the ED, also represented by special public prosecutors N K Matta and Nitesh Rana, said.

The ED had on October 25 named Chidambaram in a supplementary chargesheet in Aircel-Maxis case accusing him and eight others of laundering Rs 1.16 crore, which was "received as a bribe" for clearing foreign investment in the telecom firm.

The CBI and ED cases against Chidambaram pertains to a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval granted in 2006 by Chidambaram when he was Finance Minister in the UPA government. It claimed that the FIPB approval for the investment in the Aircel-Maxis, which the ED claimed ran into Rs 3,560 crore, was granted in March 2006 by Chidambaram even though he was competent to accord approval on project proposals only up to Rs 600 crore.