In a major development in the Aircel-Maxis case, the CBI told a court on Monday that it had received the sanction to prosecute former union minister P. Chidambaram in the said case. Meanwhile, the Court further extended the protection granted to to P. Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram from arrest till December 18 and also granted three weeks to the premier investigation agency to get sanction to prosecute some other accused in this case. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted on behalf of the CBI that, “The competent authority in the central government has accorded sanction for prosecution of accused P Chidambaram under section 197 of Cr.P.C and section 19 of Prevention of Corruption Act”. He added, “Sanction for prosecution in respect of remaining accused public servants (five) are still awaited,” while seeking two more weeks to get sanction against the other accused. The CBI argued that refusal to grant more time to get nod against the remaining accused, “In a matter pertaining to such serious offences, may frustrate the cause of justice”. It was further contended, “In view of the facts and circumstances stated above, it is most humbly and respectfully prayed that the prosecution sanction received from the competent authority in the central government in respect of accused P Chidambaram may kindly be taken on record and a further time may be given to file sanction for prosecution in respect of remaining accused public servants.”
Arguing on behalf of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a related money laundering case, Mehta told the court that the accused “Misled the agency and made the false statement. He suppressed information about the bank accounts in other countries and the money received from various sources.” ED was also represented by special public prosecutors N K Matta and Nitesh Rana, said, “Custodial interrogation is required since various new materials have surfaced after filing of the charge sheet.” The agencies sought the custodial interrogation of both the accused, arguing that they have not been co-operating with the agencies, and therefore, making it difficult for them to complete the investigation in a time bound manner as directed by the apex court.
Earlier, the apex court had dealt a telling blow to the father-son duo by dismissing the petition filed against Enforcement Directorate (ED) officer, Rajeshwar Singh and directing that investigations into the scam must be completed by September 12. The fact that the Supreme Court had expressed that the investigations must be completed in a time bound manner came as a big development in the case. Chidambaram had first faced trouble in this case when the CBI, in its charge-sheet against the former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and the other accused had stated that it was investigating how the former finance minister, Chidambaram had granted Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval to a deal involving a foreign firm while it is only the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) which could have granted such approval.
On July 20 this year, the CBI had filed a supplementary charge sheet against P. Chidambaram before the Patiala House Court listing him as an accused in the Aircel-Maxis case. Apart from the father-son duo, ten other individuals were also charge sheeted in this case.
The manner in which the government has given the sanction to prosecute Chidambaram in this case goes on to show that the government is no longer hesitating in going after those who are facing serious allegations in big cases like the Aircel-Maxis case. The government is now showing intent to take on such cases and bring them to a reasonable conclusion.