Aircel-Maxis probe: ED attaches Karti’s assets worth over ₹ 1 cr

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: Karti Chidambaram, son of former Union minister P Chidambaram, arrives at Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) headquarter in New Delhi on Wednesday in connection with INX Media case.   PTI Photo

File photo of Karti Chidambaram, son of former Union minister P Chidambaram, arriving at Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) headquarter in New Delhi. PTI Photo

The Enforcement Directorate has attached assets worth ₹ 1.16 crore of former finance minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti and a firm allegedly linked to him in connection with its money laundering probe in the Aircel-Maxis deal.

“Enforcement Directorate has attached movable assets held by ASCPL (Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited) in the form of fixed deposits to the tune of Rs 26 lakh and movable assets held by Karti P Chidambaram in the form of fixed deposits and balance in saving bank account to the tune of Rs 90 lakh approximately,” the central probe agency said.

The agency issued a provisional attachment order, signed by Joint Director and investigating officer of the 2G spectrum allocation cases Rajeshwar Singh, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for attaching the assets.

The firm ASCPL is allegedly linked to Karti and the ED said it was “controlled” by him through another person, identified as S Bhaskararaman, whom Karti had described to the agency as his Chartered Accountant and Chief Financial Officer (CFO), the agency said.

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram addresses a press conference on GST at AICC in New Delhi on Thursday.

File photo of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram called ED’s action “a crazy mixture of falsehoods and conjectures”.

“The press note is intended to intimidate me and to silence my voice. I will not be intimidated,” Chidambaram said.

The case pertains to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval granted in 2006 by P Chidambaram.

The agency said it is investigating “the circumstances of said FIPB approval granted by the then finance minister (P Chidambaram)”.

The CBI has recently told the Supreme Court that Karti was prevented from travelling abroad as he was allegedly closing several of his foreign bank accounts.

The hearing in the apex court was in connection with another CBI FIR, lodged on May 15, where it has been alleged that irregularities in FIPB clearance to INX Media had occurred, for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007.

The agency said FIPB approval in the Aircel-Maxis FDI case was granted in March, 2006 by the then FM even though he was competent to accord approval on project proposals only up to Rs 600 crore and beyond that it required the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).

(With inputs from PTI)