ED questions Chidambaram again in Aircel-Maxis case

ED questions Chidambaram again in Aircel-Maxis case

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram speaks during a press conference at AICC Headquarters, in New Delhi. PTI file photo

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday questioned former finance minister P Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case for the fourth time, officials said.

Chidambaram arrived early in the day, they said, adding that his statement would be recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). He was last grilled for about six hours on August 24.

Some specific queries on the procedures adopted by the now-defunct Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) are being posed to the former Union minister during these sessions, it is learnt. Chidambaram's son Karti has been questioned twice by the ED in this case.

While the CBI has filed a charge sheet involving the politician in July, the ED is expected to file its own prosecution complaint within the next fortnight.

After similar questioning by the ED in June, Chidambaram had said what he told the agency was already recorded in government documents. He also said a probe was initiated even though there was no FIR.

"More than half the time taken up by typing the answers without errors, reading the statement and signing it!," he had tweeted.

The Aircel-Maxis case pertains to grant of FIPB clearance to the firm M/S Global Communication Holding Services Ltd in 2006 for investment in Aircel.

SC directive

The Supreme Court had on March 12 directed investigating agencies -- the CBI and the ED -- to complete their probe into the 2G spectrum allocation cases, including the Aircel Maxis alleged money laundering case, in six months.

The agency had said FIPB approval in the Aircel-Maxis FDI case was granted in March 2006 by Chidambaram even though he was competent to approve proposals only up to Rs 600 crore and beyond that it required the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).