ED chargesheets Karti in Aircel-Maxis deal case

NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday filed a charge sheet against former finance minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram and two companies in a case related to money laundering in the Aircel-Maxis deal.
The charge sheet was filed before a Delhi court which listed the matter for hearing on July 4.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED are investigating Karti Chidambaram’s alleged role in getting Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance for the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006 when his father was the union finance minister.
The investigation agency has charged Karti Chidambaram and two companies — Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt Ltd (ASCPL) and Chess Management Services Pvt Ltd (CMSPL) — under various provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) 2002.
Karti, who has been granted interim protection from arrest by a special court till July 10, has promoted the company CMSPL, the ED has said in the charge sheet.
The Directorate has also alleged that ASCPL was set up at the directions of Karti.
Karti controlled and managed the affairs of the company, the ED said citing internal e-mails where it shows that Karti was controlling each and every aspects of the company’s business.
Karti also arranged funds for the company.
The ED charge sheet said that Maxis had invested $800 million (Rs 3,565.91 crore) as foreign direct investment (FDI). The authority of Finance Minister to give approval for the FDI was limited to Rs 600 crore at the relevant time. The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) was the competent authority for FDI proposals of over Rs 600 crore.
“In this case, FDI was projected as Rs 180 crore, which was the par value of the shares acquired by Maxis, whereas the FDI was actually Rs 3,565.91 crore,” the ED said.
CMSPL received a sum of approx Rs 90 lakh from Maxis and its associate Malaysian companies allegedly for software services, the ED said.
The agency also said that the software sold for Rs 90 lakh was designed to be used for compliance with Indian laws and was not of any use for any of the Malaysian companies.
ASCPL received approximately Rs 26 lakh from Aircel Televenture Ltd, the Indian company which sold shares to Maxis.
“This payment was received immediately after FDI approval,” the ED said. On August 29, 2014, the CBI had filed a charge sheet alleging that between July 2004 and September 2008, Dayanidhi Maran, as Minister in the UPA-I government, used his influence to help Malaysian businessman T A Ananda Krishnan buy Aircel by coercing its owner Sivasankaran to part with his stake.
Sivasankaran alleged that Maran favoured the Krishnan-owned Maxis Group in the takeover of his company. In return, he alleged, Maxis made investments through Astro Network, a sister concern, in Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd (SDTPL), stated to be owned by the Maran family.
However, a special court had dropped charges against former communications minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi and others in the alleged kickback of Rs 742 crore in the Aircel-Maxis deal, saying that the “perception or suspicion” was not backed by concrete evidence.