Aircel-Maxis case: Chidambaram, son named in CBI chargesheet

By Prarthana Mitra

In the charge sheet submitted at the Patiala House Court in Delhi, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) accused former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, his son Karti and 16 others, including existing and former government officials, for involvement in the Aircel-Maxis case.

Hearing on the matter will begin on July 31.

Here’s what happened so far

The nodal investigative agency found discrepancies while following two money trails in connection with the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance that was given to a firm for investment in Aircel.

According to the CBI, Chidambaram had sanctioned the sale of telecom Aircel to Malaysia’s Maxis without following due process in 2006. Karti Chidambaram, 46, was arrested in February on charges of money-laundering in the same case but was soon released on bail.

In May, the CBI raided several locations, including Karti’s residence. Earlier this month, however, a Delhi court extended Chidambaram and his son Karti’s protection from arrest till August 7.


What the accused has to say

The father-son duo has denied any involvement or wrongdoing from the beginning, calling it a witch hunt by the BJP government in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.

Chidambaram, one of the top leaders of the opposition, claims that the CBI was coerced and pressured into filing the chargesheet, just hours ahead of a no-trust vote against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He further asserted that all investment approvals granted during his tenure were above board.

Why you should care

Now formally accused of corruption, the 72-year-old politician is expected to stand the trial for misusing his office as Finance Minister in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s cabinet, to clear foreign investment deals in exchange for which his son, Karti Chidambaram, received kickbacks.

This would not be the first time, that the Chidambarams have been accused of corruption. Chidambaram had also been embroiled in a 2007 deal green-lighting foreign investment to Indrani and Peter Mukerjea of INX Media (both of whom are currently in prison for homicide).

Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius