New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram cannot be arrested till July 10 in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case, a Delhi court said today. The former Union minister, who is being questioned in the case, had applied for relief from arrest, which was extended today.
- The court fixed the matter for further hearing to July 10
- The ED can, however, summon the Congress leader for questioning
- ED claims improper process followed in foreign direct investment
The Enforcement Directorate, which is in charge of investigations, has sought more time to file a reply to Mr Chidambaram's arguments.
After the hearing, Mr Chidambaram reached the agency's office for questioning in the case.
The Central Bureau of Investigation and the ED are investigating the foreign investment clearance granted in 2006 for the Aircel-Maxis deal, when Mr Chidambaram was Finance Minister in the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre.
The case will be heard again on July 10, when the court is also expected to hear the anticipatory bail plea of Karti Chidambaram, the son of the former Union minister, in the same case. Karti Chidambaram is an accused in the INX Media case and is out on bail.
According to the CBI, Mauritius-based Global Communication Services Holdings -- a subsidiary of Maxis -- sought approval for an investment of 800 million dollars in Aircel.
The approval was expected to come from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs or CCEA, headed by the Prime Minister. But it came from the finance ministry, which only has the power to approve investments of smaller sums, upto Rs 600 crore.
The agency alleged that after the approval was received, Aircel Televentures Limited paid Rs 26 lakh to a company linked to Karti Chidambaram.
The former minister has described the agency's action in this case as a "crazy mixture of falsehoods and conjectures".
In September last year, the ED attached assets worth Rs. 1.16 crore belonging to Karti Chidambaram and a firm allegedly linked to him in connection with this case.