Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Monday gave the Central Bureau of Investigation seven weeks to obtain sanction to prosecute the accused former and serving public servants –
including former Union minister P Chidambaram – in the Aircel-Maxis case, reported PTI. The court warned the agency that it would take appropriate action if the required documents are not filed before the next hearing on November 26.
The court of Special Judge OP Saini criticised the Central Bureau of Investigation for filing the chargesheet without obtaining proper sanction. “You [CBI] should not have filed the chargesheet,” said Saini. “It is only increasing the pendency of the court. A lot of time of the court has been wasted due to this.”
The agency’s counsel, Sonia Mathur, told the court that the granting of sanction “is under active consideration of the government” and could happen within four weeks. Chidambaram’s name is among those against whom sanction for prosecution is yet to come.
The Central Bureau of Investigation had filed a chargesheet against 18 people, including Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram, in July. The chargesheet named retired as well as serving government officials. The accused have been charged with criminal conspiracy, seeking illegal gratification, and criminal misconduct under various sections.
The special court also adjourned a case of money laundering against Karti Chidambaram and others after Mathur and advocates NK Matta and Nitesh Rana sought an adjournment on behalf of the Enforcement Directorate. Last month, the Supreme Court gave the probe agency three months to complete its investigation.
The case pertains to clearances that the Foreign Investment Promotion Board granted to the firm M/S Global Communication Holding Services Ltd for investment in Aircel in 2006. Chidambaram was the finance minister at the time and Karti Chidambaram allegedly facilitated the payment of bribes in the Aircel-Maxis transaction. The Enforcement Directorate is looking into why Chidambaram approved the investment when only the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs can give the green signal.