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