A day after the Enforcement Directorate submitted its report on P Chidambaram's role in the Aircel-Maxis case to the Supreme Court, the Congress leader today said he had approved of the deal "in the normal course of business" in his capacity as the then Finance Minister.
In a written statement, Chidambaram said, "The Foreign Investment Promotion Board consists of five secretaries to the government. They examine the cases and recommend their approval or rejection. They apply the rules/guidelines and submit each case to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) or the Finance Minister depending upon the value of the investment."
The CBI on April 3 told the Supreme Court that it was investigating the senior Congress leader's role in giving a clearance to Maxis -- a Malaysian form -- to buy 100 per cent shares of Aircel.
In response to this, Chidambaram said, "In the Aircel-Maxis case, taking into account the face value of the foreign investment, the FIPB submitted the case to the Finance Minister and sought his approval. In my capacity as the then Finance Minister, I granted my approval to it in the normal course of business. CBI has recorded statements from every official who dealt with the case. Everyone, including the then secretary and the additional secretary, has affirmed that the case was rightly submitted to the Finance Minister, who was a competent authority to grant approval and that the approval was granted in the normal course of business."
The Supreme Court had last month asked Subramanian Swamy, who had filed the petition, to provide 'concrete documentary proof' of Chidambaram's role.