New Delhi: A Delhi court has extended protection granted to former union minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram from arrest till July 10 in the Aircel-Maxis alleged money laundering case. The Enforcement Directorate or ED has sought more time for filing a detailed reply in the case.
The court fixed the matter for further hearing to July 10, the same date on which the hearing against the Congress leader’s son, Karti Chidambaram, in the Aircel-Maxis case is scheduled.
The ED can, however, summon the Congress leader for questioning. He has already reached the probe agency’s office in Delhi today on an earlier summon.
The case against Karti Chidambaram relates to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval granted in 2006 by his father. 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 agency had said FIPB approval in the Aircel-Maxis foreign direct investment case was granted in March 2006 by Karti Chidambaram even though he was competent to approve project proposals only up to Rs. 600 crore and beyond that it required the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).
The ED has claimed that approval for FDI of $800 million (over Rs. 3,500 crore) was sought and hence the CCEA was the proper authority to grant approval. “However, approval was not obtained from the CCEA,” a senior ED official had said in March.P Chidambaram has described the ED action in this case as a “crazy mixture of falsehoods and conjectures”.
In September last year, the ED had attached assets worth Rs. 1.16 crore of Karti Chidambaram and a firm allegedly linked to him in connection with this case.