SC Asks Swamy for Proof to Act Against PC in Air­cel-Maxis Deal

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Sa­man­waya.Rau­tray @times­group.com

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Fri­day said it would not hes­i­tate to act against any in­flu­en­tial per­son, but said BJP leader Subra­ma­nium Swamy needs to pro­duce more ma­te­rial for it to act against former fi­nance min­is­ter P Chi­dambaram over Air­cel-Maxis deal. Swamy had al­leged that P Chi­dambaram granted For­eign In­vest­ment Pro­mo­tion Board (FIPB) clear­ance to the ₹ 3,500-crore AircelMaxis deal in 2006 in vi­o­la­tion of rules, and urged the bench led by the Chief Jus­tice of In­dia JS Khe­har to or­der a probe against the former fi­nance min­is­ter on the prima fa­cie ev­i­dence. But Khe­har said there was not enough ma­te­rial to act against the former min­is­ter. “We will take ac­tion whether the per­son is high or low. We won’t hes­i­tate. But show us the ma­te­rial,” he said. The bench has granted Swamy two weeks to pro­duce more ma­te­rial to prove Chi­dambaram’s role in any con­spir­acy.

Ear­lier, Swamy ar­gued that un­der the busi­ness rules, any deal that in­volved ₹ 600 crore and above had to be put up be­fore the Cab­i­net Com­mit­tee on Eco­nomic Af­fairs, but Chi­dambaram granted FIPB clear­ance to the Air­cel-Maxis deal de­spite know­ing the rules fully well. That was the main con­spir­acy in the Air­cel-Maxis case, he in­sisted.

Also, the rules did not al­low more than 74% for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment in the tele­com sec­tor at that point of time. But Maxis bought 100% shares in Air­cel, as re­vealed to the Malaysian stock ex­change, by set­ting up a non-tele­com front com­pany, Swamy al­leged.

An ear­lier bench, he told the CJIled bench, had in fact sought a re­port from the CBI in a sealed cover on this, but that was yet to be ex­am­ined by the court. He claimed that the CBI had said Chi­dambaram had been ex­am­ined and would be charge-sheeted soon. He also de­manded a fresh CBI sta­tus re­port on the is­sue.

But he failed to con­vince the top court bench. “How do you know that the min­is­ter knows that it should go to the CCEA? A min­is­ter pos­si­bly has to clear 200 files a day,” the CJI said.

P Chi­dambaram

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