New Delhi: Former finance minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti have been named as accused by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the Aircel Maxis money laundering case.
The investigative agency filed a supplementary chargesheet in the case in the Patiala House court on Thursday, over a month after the Enforcement Directorate submitted its chargesheet.
The CBI has accused Chidambaram of abuse of power, alleging that he flouted norms to grant Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to firm M/S Global Communication Holding Services Ltd for investment in Aircel.
This is the first time that the senior Congress leader has been directly accused of wrongdoing in the case. The ED had also named him at several places in its chargesheet but had not arrayed him as an accused.
In a tweet, the veteran Congress leader alleged that the CBI has been pressured to file the chargesheet by the BJP government at the centre.
"CBI has been pressured to file a charge sheet to support a preposterous allegation against me and officers with a sterling reputation. The case is now before the Hon'ble Court and it will be contested vigorously. I shall make no more public comment," he wrote.
Apart from Chidambaram and his son, the CBI has named nine public servants as well as officials of Aircel Maxis. The court will take cognizance of the chargesheet on July 31.
According to the CBI, Mauritius-based Global Communication Services Holdings - a subsidiary of Maxis - sought approval for an investment of US dollars 800 million in telecom firm Aircel.
The approval should have come from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, which is headed by the Prime Minister. But it came from the finance ministry, which was then headed by Chidambaram. The finance ministry is only empowered to approve investments of sums up to Rs 600 crore.
The CBI alleged that after the approval was received, Aircel Televentures Limited paid Rs 26 lakh to a company linked to Karti Chidambaram. In September last year, the ED had attached assets worth Rs 1.16 crore belonging to him and a firm allegedly linked to him in connection with this case.
Chidambaram has already been protected from arrest by the court till August 7, as the court extended his anticipatory bail for the third time a few days ago. He has denied all the charges, and called the case against him a witch-hunt and a mixture of conjecture and falsehoods.