New Delhi: Former finance minister P Chidambaram's son Karti was quizzed for nearly 10 hours by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the Aircel Maxis alleged money laundering case, officials said.
This is the first time that Karti was questioned by the ED in the case related to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval granted in 2006 by his father. Karti, who'd earlier challenged the ED's summonses issued to him in this case before a court, reached the ED headquarters here about 10.45 am and left after 9 pm, the officials said.
The Investigating Officer (IO) of the case recorded Karti's statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), they said, adding he could be grilled again soon. The Supreme Court had on 12 March 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 accord approval on project proposals only up to Rs 600 crore and beyond that it required the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). The ED is investigating "the circumstances of the FIPB approval granted (in 2006) by the then finance minister", the official said.
"In the instant case, the approval for FDI of 800 million USD (over Rs 3,500 crore) was sought. Hence, the CCEA was competent to grant the approval. "However, the approval was not obtained from the CCEA," it had alleged. The agency said its probe revealed that the case of the said FDI was "wrongly projected as an investment of Rs 180 crore so that it need not be sent to the CCEA to avoid a detailed scrutiny."
The ED is probing the Aircel-Maxis deal under the PMLA after taking cognisance of a 2011 CBI FIR in the case. The senior Chidambaram had earlier described the ED action in this case as a "crazy mixture of falsehoods and conjectures" and said that the charge sheet filed by probe agencies had been rejected by the court. However, the agencies have maintained that the FIR in the case has not been quashed.
In September, the ED attached assets worth Rs 1.16 crore of Karti and a firm allegedly linked to him in connection with this case.
Updated Date: Apr 10, 2018 22:40 PM