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Aircel-Maxis case: SC asks if invisible hands are delaying probe, directs completion of investigation in 6 months

Taking a hard stance on the Aircel-Maxis case, the Supreme Court on Monday directed investigating agencies to complete their probes into the 2G spectrum allocation case and other related matters in six months. The court also asked if invisible hands were delaying the probes in the case.

File image of Karti Chidambaram. PTI

File image of Karti Chidambaram. PTI

Insisting that the people cannot be kept in dark with regards to investigations into sensitive matters such as the 2G spectrum case, it allowed the Centre to file a status report on all investigations in the case in two weeks.

The apex court also relieved senior advocate Anand Grover, who was appointed by it in 2014 as Special Public Prosecutor in the 2G spectrum case. The court put a stamp of approval on the Centre's decision to appoint Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta by replacing Grover as the SPP in the 2G spectrum case and dismissed a contempt petition filed by an NGO which has been pursuing developments related to the scam in the apex court.

It was earlier reported that the ED and the CBI had said that alleged irregularities in the grant of clearance in the case are still alive and they are further probing the linkages to establish payoffs.

The case pertains to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval granted in 2006 by then-finance minister P Chidambaram. The agency had found that the approval given in the Aircel-Maxis deal was given by Chidambaram beyond his mandate. FIPB was a national agency of the Central government with the remit to consider and recommend foreign direct investments (FDI).

In the Aircel-Maxis deal, the FIPB approval was supposed to go to the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs. However, the probe found out that Chidambaram gave the approval on his own. ED, in its investigation, also found that the amount of FIPB approval was wrongly projected to conceal the facts.

ED also found that a company promoted by Chidambaram's son Karti and nephew A Palaniappan allegedly received $2 lakh from the Maxis Group in the guise of software consultancy.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Mar 12, 2018 13:56 PM

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