In the latest development, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) have sought more time for the Aircel-Maxis case before the court. The CBI and the ED cited the pendency of some paperwork as their reason for an extension. The court, after hearing the arguments, has granted the agencies more time and has set the deadline as May 4 for all paperwork and probe to be completed.
During the proceedings, the ED told Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar that Letters Rogatory (LRs) had been sent to four countries in connection with the case. The agencies asked for an extension stating that they were awaiting their reply. An LR is issued by courts on the request of an investigation agency when it wants information from another country.
The court on January 28 had "revived" the Aircel-Maxis case filed by the CBI and the ED against former Finance Minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram after it was adjourned as 'sine die' back on September 5, last year. 'Sine die' is when a case is adjourned but a date for a next hearing is not fixed for it. The court had adjourned the case as 'sine die' after it noted that the two probe agencies were seeking "adjournment after adjournment" in the matter.
The Aircel-Maxis case relates to alleged irregularities in grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval in the Rs 3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal when Chidambaram was finance minister. The CBI is probing how Chidambaram, being the finance minister in 2006, granted FIPB approval to a foreign firm, when only the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) was empowered to do it. The ED is probing a money laundering case in the Aircel-Maxis matter, in which the Chidambarams have been questioned by the agency.