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Probing Chidambaram role in Aircel-Maxis deal, CBI tells court
Monday September 22, 2014 10:51 PM, IANS

The CBI Monday told a special court here that foreign investment approval given by then finance minister P. Chidambaram to a Mauritius-based company in the Aircel-Maxis deal was a "mistake" and they are probing his role.

"The investment was of $800 million which is Rs 3,500 crore (approx). The FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) approval (by the then finance minister) was a mistake. This is under investigation," the Central Bureau of investigation (CBI) told Special Judge O.P.Saini.

The CBI's contentions came while advancing arguments in its recently-filed charge sheet against then communications minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran, and Malaysian business tycoon T. Ananda Krishnan and others. Dayanidhi Maran is charged with using his influence to help Krishnan acquire Aircel by allegedly coercing its owner Sivasankaran to part with his stake.

The court has posted for further hearing on the consideration of the charge sheet Oct 13.A

The CBi said its investigation has revealed that Dayanidhi Maran did not raise objection to the proposal of foreign investment by the Global Communication Services Holding Ltd. in Aircel Ltd. in 2006.

It added that Global Communication Services had sought the FIPB's nod for $800 million investment, for which the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affarirs (CCEA) was competent to grant approval.

"However, the approval was granted by the then finance minister (Chidambaram)," the CBI's charge sheet said.

"Further investigation is being carried out into the circumstances of the said FIPB approval granted by then finance minister. The related issues are being investigated."

It was alleged by Sivasankaran that Dayanidhi Maran favoured Maxis Group in the takeover of his company and in return, the company made investments through Astro Network in a company stated to be owned by the Maran family.

Four companies - Sun Direct TV Pvt. Ltd., Britain-based Astro All Asia Networks Plc, Maxis Communications Berhad in Malaysia, and South Asia Entertainment Holdings Ltd. in Mauritius - have been also named in the charge sheet filed Aug 29.

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