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Aircel-Maxis case: ED and CBI file status reports of inquiry into the Chidambarams

The directorate told a court in Delhi that an active inquiry was being conducted, while the CBI said it had sent a letter rogatory to Malaysia.

The Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday filed their status reports in the Aircel-Maxis case involving Congress leaders P Chidambaram and Karti Chidambaram, reported PTI. On January 28, a district court in Delhi had “revived” the case that was earlier indefinitely adjourned.

The Enforcement Directorate told the court that an active inquiry was going on in the case, while the CBI said it was waiting for a reply to a letter rogatory sent to Malaysian authorities. A letter rogatory, issued by courts on an investigating agency’s request, is sent when information is needed from another country.

After the submissions, District Judge Sujata Kohli posted the case for hearing for 10 am on February 20 , IANS reported. Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, who represented the agencies, submitted the Enforcement Directorate’s status report in a sealed cover. “As far as the CBI’s investigation was concerned, chargesheet has been filed,” Jain told the court, adding that the agency was looking into a new lead.

On September 5, a special court in Delhi had granted anticipatory bail to the Chidambarams in cases filed separately by the two agencies. The court asked the two to join the investigations, and noted that the charges against them were not grave as the amount allegedly laundered was only Rs 1.13 crore.

On October 10, the Enforcement Directorate challenged the anticipatory bail order in Delhi High Court. The case will be taken up in March.

The Aircel-Maxis case pertains to clearances that the Foreign Investment Promotion Board granted to the firm Global Communication Holding Services Ltd for investment in telecom company Aircel in 2006. P Chidambaram was the Union finance minister at the time, and Karti Chidambaram, who is a parliamentarian at present, allegedly facilitated the payment of bribes in the Aircel-Maxis transaction. The Enforcement Directorate, which is investigating a money laundering angle, is inquiring why Chidambaram approved the investment when only the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs can give green signal for such deals.

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