New Delhi: The government on Saturday came to Home Minister P Chidambaram's defence in the Aircel-Maxis deal. The Centre said that allegations against Chidambaram's son in the Aircel-Maxis issue levelled by Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy were totally baseless.
In a release posted on its websbite, the government denied that there was any delay by the Finance Ministry in the Aircel-Maxis deal. It also said that that application was processed in the normal course and the Ministries and Departments concerned took their normal time of four to six weeks to offer their inputs.
Swamy had alleged that Chidambaram as Finance Minister had delayed the deal. Swamy had alleged that Karthi Chidambaram's firm Advantage made Rs 26 lakh out of a deal with telecom company Aircel, before its takeover by Maxis.
According to Swamy, the transaction occurred when Chidambaram was Union Finance Minister.
He further said that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) could not conduct a fair investigation into the case while Chidambaram was the Union Home Minister.
Following is the full text of the government's statement:
Allegations have been made that the proposal of M/s Global Communication Services Holdings Ltd, Mauritius (a wholly owned subsidiary of M/s Maxis Communications Berhad) to acquire 73.99 per cent equity in M/s Aircel Ltd was delayed by the then Finance Minister in order to benefit certain persons.
The allegations are totally baseless.
The records of the FIPB have been perused. They reveal the following:
On 6.1.2006, the applicant, M/s Global Communication Services Holdings Ltd acquired 26 per cent equity in M/s Aircel Ltd through the automatic route.
On 30.1.2006, the applicant applied for enhancing its equity in M/s Aircel Ltd from 26 per cent to 73.99 per cent.
The application was processed in the normal course and the Ministries and Departments concerned took the normal time of 4 to 6 weeks to offer their comments. The proposal was included in the agenda notes circulated on 17.2.2006.
On 7.3.2006, the matter was placed before the meeting of the FIPB. DoT conveyed its support to the proposal at the meeting. FIPB recommended the proposal for approval on 7.3.2006 and file was moved by Deputy Secretary on 10.3.2006.
The minutes of the FIPB meeting were placed before the then Finance Minister on 13.3.2006 and he approved the same.
The formal letter of approval was issued by the Ministry of Finance on 20.3.2006.
From the facts stated above, it will be abundantly clear that there was no delay whatsoever. It is unfortunate that baseless allegations should be made without verifying the facts.