The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday filed a charge sheet against former Finance Minister P Chidambaram's son Karti P Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis deal. The probe agency also charged Karti Chidambaram under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) 2002.
In its chargesheet, the ED has claimed that Karti controlled "each and every aspect" of Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited (ASCPL) which received Rs 26 lakh as alleged bribe in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case.
"The affairs of ASCPL were managed by Karti and internal e-mails show the control of Karti over each and every aspect of the business of ASCPL," it said.
It claimed that ASCPL "received" about 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 in the charge sheet indicating alleged quid pro quo or bribe.
Talking about the deal in question, the charge sheet said Maxis had "invested USD 800 million (Rs 3,565.91 crore) as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)."
"The authority of finance minister to give approval for 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," it said.
The ED said that the other firm listed as accused in the charge sheet -- CMSPL -- was "a company promoted by Karti (the son of the then finance minister who gave the approval without having competence) received a sum of about Rs 90 lakh from Maxis and its associate Malaysian companies allegedly for software services".
"The software sold for Rs 90 lakh was designed to be used for compliance with Indian laws and was not of any use for a Malaysian company," it said.
The agency has questioned and recorded the statement of Karti Chidambaram in this case at least twice.
The FIPB approval in the Aircel-Maxis FDI case was granted in March 2006 by P Chidambaram even though he was competent to accord approval on project proposals only up to Rs 600 crore and beyond that it required the approval of the CCEA, the ED had said.
The agency had earlier said its probe had revealed that the case of the FDI was "wrongly projected as an investment of Rs 180 crore so that it need not be sent to the CCEA to avoid a detailed scrutiny".
In September last year, the ED had attached assets worth Rs 1.16 crore of Karti Chidambaram and ASCPL in this case.
The ED, in 2016, had filed a charge sheet in this case against former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran and four others.
However, the court later discharged them last year in both the ED and the CBI cases pertaining to the Aircel-Maxis deal.
The two agencies subsequently had appealed against this order before the Delhi High Court.
The Supreme Court had on March 12 directed investigating agencies -- the CBI and the ED -- to complete their probe into the 2G spectrum allocation cases, including the Aircel-Maxis alleged money laundering case, in six months.
The chargesheet was filed before a Delhi court which has listed the matter for further hearing on July 4.
Karti was arrested on February 28 at the Chennai airport upon his return from the United Kingdom, for his alleged role in the case. On May 2, a special court here extended till July 10 the interim protection against arrest granted to him in the case.
The Central Bureau of Investigation and the ED are investigating Karti Chidambaram's alleged role in getting Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance in the Aircel-Maxis deal when his P Chidambaram was the Union Finance Minister in 2006.
Karti is also an accused in the INX Media case wherein he has been charged with receiving irregular FIPB clearance for investments up to Rs 305 crore.
The ED had earlier said that the FIPB approval granted in 2006 by Chidambaram was beyond his mandate as he was only authorised to accord approval on project proposals up to Rs 600 crore.
On June 12, P Chidambaram appeared before the Enforcement Directorate for the second time for a fresh round of questioning pertaining to the alleged money laundering in the case.
The former finance minister has been given protection from arrest by the ED till July 10 by the Patiala House Court.