27 apr 2012
Chidambaram helped son to benefit from Aircel-Maxis deal, says Subramanian Swamy
New Delhi: Subramanian Swamy, who wants P Chidambaram to be investigated for his alleged role in the telecom scam, today made new allegations of corruption against the Union Minister’s son. In a three-page letter dated April 24 to the Prime Minister, Mr Swamy has said that Mr Chidambaram should be asked to resign as Home Minister and that the CBI should include him and his son, Karti, in its investigation on the sale of telecom Aircel to Malaysia-based Maxis.
Mr Swamy says that, Karti, benefited from Mr Chidambaram’s position as Finance Minister to earn huge profits during the sale of Aircel which Mr Chidambaram sanctioned in 2006. However, Mr Swamy did not produce any documentary evidence to substantiate his claims.
Mr Swamy says that in 2005, telecom company Aircel was verging on bankruptcy. Its then owner, C Sivasankaran, was approached by Maxis, which wanted to pick up 74% stake in Aircel for nearly 4,000 crores, according to Mr Swamy. He says that this deal needed clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board.
“But this permission – Chidambaram delayed it because he wanted a cut – this is my allegation,” said Mr Swamy at a press conference today. He alleged that before the deal was sanctioned, a company Ausbridge Holding and Investments Pvt Ltd in which Karti Chidambaram is a 94 per cent equity holder bought shares in the holding company, Advantage Strategic Consultancy Pvt Ltd, of Aircel. When the deal went through, Mr Swamy says, Karti Chidambaram made considerable profits, though he did not specify how much.
Karti Chidambaram has refused to comment on Mr Swamy’s allegations, but sources close to him, said, “No company directly or indirectly held by Karti P Chidambaram owns or owned in the past any equity directly or indirectly in Aircel or for that matter in any telecom company.” They also point out that it was in 2010-11 that Karti’s company invested in Advantage.
Mr Swamy wants Mr Chidambaram and his son to be included in the FIR, with Dayanidhi Maran, that looks at the Aircel-Maxis deal. Maran, the then Telecom Minister, is already being investigated by the CBI for allegedly misusing his office.
Mr Sivasankaran has alleged that licenses vital for his business were held up by Mr Maran, who was allegedly pressuring him to sell Aircel to the owner of Maxis, T Ananda Krishnan. After Mr Sivasankaran sold Aircel to Maxis, the licenses he had applied for were granted. The CBI is checking whether 600 crores invested by Maxis in Sun Direct, owned by Mr Maran’s brother, Kalanidhi, was a quid pro quo.
Mr Swamy, who is the Janata Party president, was turned down in February by a Delhi court when he asked that Mr Chidambaram be investigated by the CBI for his role as Finance Minister during another telecom scam in 2008 – this one allegedly orchestrated by A Raja, who took over from Mr Maran as telecom minister in 2004. Mr Raja is in jail for awarding mobile network licenses at clearance prices to ineligible companies – he threw in spectrum for free. Mr Swamy says that as Finance Minister, Mr Chidambaram failed to prevent Mr Raja from gypping the country of thousands of crores, and that he sanctioned the low prices fixed by Mr Raja.