Finance Minister Arun Jaitey on Wednesday said “no holy cows” would be spared if found guilty in the alleged Aircel-Maxis scam but refused to give more details about the possible money laundering case involving Congress leader P Chidambaram’s son Karti’s firms.
“Nobody, howsoever important, would be spared if found guilty in the Aircel-Maxis deal,” Jaitley said in Lok Sabha
“We have no holy cows who’ll be spared,” Jaitley was quoted by NDTV as saying.
Denying that there was any political vendetta involved in the probe, Jaitley told the Lok Sabha that the government was not influenced by the opposition’s stance over the issue that stalled Parliament proceedings on Tuesday and Wednesday morning.
He said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had “already filed a charge-sheet into the case and that procedures were being followed in strict compliance with the law”.
Let the case details go to the court and then “all the documents will become public”, he said.
Raids by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and other investigating agencies were conducted in the Aircel-Maxis case, especially in Chennai, he said.
AIADMK members raised the issue against Karti in the parliament, displaying copies of an English daily which claimed that, as per investigations by the ED and Income Tax authorities during searches at his premises, he had invested in real estate across the world.
The Aircel-Maxis case first hit headlines in 2011 when the founder of Aircel S Sivasankaran filed a complaint with the CBI that he was forced to sell his telecom company to Malaysia-based Maxis Group. He alleged that Dayanidhi Maran, who was telecom minister in the UPA government then, coerced him to sell his company for a kickback of Rs 742 crore from Maxis Group.
Between the complaint and now, CBI has filed an FIR and also a charge sheet against Dayanidhi, his brother Kalanithi Maran and the promoters of Maxis Group. In its charge sheet filed in 2014, CBI had questioned the clearance given by P Chidambaram to Maxis group for its investment in Aircel, as finance minister in 2008. Foreign investments coming into India require the nod of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board, a department within the finance Ministry and depending on the quantum of the money, a nod from the Cabinet. The probe so far alleges that a company owned by Karti indirectly held stake in Aircel-Maxis and benefitted from the clearance.
Based on CBI’s FIR, Enforcement Directorate (ED) also began investigations and in January this year filed a charge sheet. In the process of its probe, ED has attached assets worth Rs 742 crore held by the Maran family.
Recent raids by ED and Income Tax in the Aircel-Maxis case reportedly detail Karti’s business deal in 14 countries and the huge wealth amassed by the Karti Chidambaram between 2006-2014, a span of time when P Chidambaram held several key positions in the Central Government.