The CBI has recorded the statement of former finance minister P Chidambaram in connection with its further probe into the circumstances under which the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) gave its approval to the Rs 3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006.
Chidambaram’s statement was recorded on December 6, according to a CBI source. On being contacted, Chidambaram told HT on Tuesday, “They (CBI) took a brief statement from me on the FIPB approval. I repeated what I said in my press statement earlier. Nothing more than that.”
In its case chargesheet filed before a special court on August 29, the CBI had alleged that the then finance minister Chidambaram had approved the Maxis subsidiary, Mauritius-based M/s Global Communication Services Holdings Ltd, proposal for investing for USD 800 million though only the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) was competent to do so. In its chargesheet, the CBI argued that the FIPB could only consider foreign investment up to `600 crore.
As reports of the chargesheet raising doubts over the finance ministry emerged, Chidambaram had denied there had been any violation of rules. In a statement, the former minister had said, “Approval was granted by me, as Finance Minister, in the normal course.” He had said that the ministry officials had also recommended the same.
CBI had chargesheeted former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran, T Ananda Krishnan, Malaysian national Augustus Ralph Marshall and four firms — Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd, Maxis Communication Berhad, South Asia Entertainment Holding Ltd and Astro All Asia Network PLC — as accused in the case in August.