Chidambaram, son charged by CBI in Aircel-Maxis case

Chidambaram, son charged by CBI in Aircel-Maxis case

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram. (PTI file photo)

In fresh trouble for P Chidambaram, the CBI on Thursday filed a fresh chargesheet against the former finance minister and his son Karti for suspected irregularities and criminal conspiracy in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

The chargesheet was filed before special CBI judge O P Saini, who fixed July 31 for considering it. Besides Chidambaram and Karti, the CBI has named 10 individuals, including public servants, and six companies as accused in the case.

This is a fresh chargesheet in the case though it emanated from an earlier case registered in 2012 against former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and others, who were later discharged by a trial court. The CBI has filed an appeal in the Delhi High Court against it.

Those named in the fresh chargesheet have been accused of indulging in criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and public servant taking illegal gratification, punishment for abetting this offence and public servant committing criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Chidambaram, who has been questioned by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate in the case, tweeted, "CBI has been pressured to file a chargesheet to support a preposterous allegation against me and officers with a sterling reputation. The case is now before the court and it will be contested vigorously. I shall make no more public comment."

The CBI claimed that Rs 26 lakh was paid to Chennai-based Advantage Strategic Consulting Ltd (ASCL), a firm with alleged links to Karti, Rs 26 lakh by Aircel when the Finance Ministry cleared the foreign investment by Malaysia-based Maxis. The ASCL is alleged to have raised an invoice on March 29, 2006, and Aircel made the payment three days later.

The agency also claimed that Chess Management Services Holding Ltd (CMSHL), of which Karti is said to be the promoter and director, also received Rs 87 lakh in several installments from an associate company of Maxis. While the payment to ASCL was shown as market research fee, the payment to CMSHL was shown as fee for software.

The agency claimed Karti could not provide them any such software claimed to have been given to Maxis even though it was told that they would pay for it.

The agency has also named in the chargesheet former CEO of Aircel V Srinivasan, nephew of Chidambaram A Palaniappan who was also the promoter of Chess Management Services, Malaysian nationals Ananda Krishnan Tatparanandam, Augustus Ralph Marshall, both linked with Maxis, S Bhaskaraman, and the then under secretary Ram Sharan, according to sources.

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