Five babus in soup over Aircel Maxis

Govt clears pros­e­cu­tion, NSE ex-chair­man among of­fi­cials

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - SECOND FRONT PAGE - DNA Cor­re­spon­dent

New Delhi: Nearly six months after they were chargesheeted, the Cen­tre has al­lowed pros­e­cu­tion of five of­fi­cials – serv­ing and re­tired bu­reau­crats – who are co-ac­cused with for­mer fi­nance min­is­ter P Chi­dambaram in the Aircel Maxis case. This was dis­closed by the Cen­tral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion in a spe­cial court on Fri­day.

The co-ac­cused of­fi­cers are for­mer fi­nance sec­re­taries Ashok Jha and Ashok Chawla, two serv­ing IAS of­fi­cers Ku­mar San­jay Kr­ish­nan of As­sam cadre, Deepak Ku­mar Singh of Bi­har cadre, and re­tired un­der sec­re­tary Ram Saran.

Hours after the dis­clo­sure, Ashok Chawla re­signed from the post of Chair­man of the National Stock Ex­change. Chawla also served as the chan­cel­lor of The En­ergy and Re­sources In­sti­tute (TERI) Uni­ver­sity. He is a for­mer chair­man of the Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion of India (CCI). He was an IAS of­fi­cer of the 1973 batch of Gu­jarat cadre.

Ashok Ku­mar Jha is a mem­ber of ad­vi­sory board of IIFL Home Fi­nance Limited (for­merly known as India In­fo­line Hous­ing Fi­nance Limited) and had served as a nonex­ec­u­tive in­de­pen­dent di­rec­tor for the Great East­ern En­ergy Cor­po­ra­tion Limited from March 2010 to July 2018. He has been a non-ex­ec­u­tive in­de­pen­dent di­rec­tor of Minda Cor­po­ra­tion Limited since Novem­ber 14, 2014 and an in­de­pen­dent

di­rec­tor of Nuziveedu Seeds Limited since July 26, 2013. Ear­lier, Jha had served as the fi­nance sec­re­tary.

The agency in the chargesheet ac­cused these of­fi­cers, then work­ing in the For­eign In­vest­ment Pro­mo­tion Board (FIPB), of il­le­gally ap­prov­ing the for­eign in­vest­ment clear­ance to Malaysian firm Maxis to ac­quire mo­bile phone op­er­a­tor Aircel.

Jha was serv­ing as sec­re­tary (eco­nomic af­fairs), Chawla was an ad­di­tional sec­re­tary, Kr­ishna was a joint sec­re­tary, and Singh was a di­rec­tor in the min­istry.

The case refers to a 2006 in­vest­ment in Aircel Ltd by Malaysia’s Maxis Com­mu­ni­ca­tions which, ac­cord­ing to CBI, was a vi­o­la­tion of the then pre­vail­ing for­eign in­vest­ments laws.

The CBI has said that de­spite in­vest­ment of over Rs 3,500 crore was made in Aircel by Maxis and it was only the Cabi­net com­mit­tee on eco­nomic af­fairs could have granted ap­proval.

How­ever, the in­vest­ment pro­posal was wrongly pro­jected as merely in­volv­ing an in­vest­ment of Rs 180 crore and ap­proval was granted by the then fi­nance min­is­ter P Chi­dambaram.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.