The Supreme Court on Friday asked BJP leader Subramanian Swamy to place before it concrete evidence backing his plea for probe into the role of then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram into alleged breach of norms committed by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in approving the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006.
Telling Swamy that it would issue notice only when it is prima facie satisfied that the former Finance Minister was aware of the breach of norms at the time when FIPB gave its nod to the Aircel-Maxis deal, the bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said that “We must arrive at the conclusion that he (Chidambaram) knew” about it.
As Swamy told the bench that he would produce concrete evidence backing his allegation of Chidambaram’s role, the court gave the BJP leader two weeks time to place evidence before it. The court adjourned the hearing for two weeks in response to the query by the court whether he can bring material backing his allegation in two weeks time, Swamy said “absolutely”.
Seeking probe into the role of Chidambaram in alleged violation of norms committed by the FIPB in approving Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006 permitting investment in excess of the ceiling of 74 per cent, Swamy referred to the CAG report which has pointed to two alleged illegalities in the grant of approval to Aircel-Maxis deal by the FIPB.
According to Swamy, the CAG in its 2015 report pointed to two illegalities in the grant of approval by FIPB involving Maxis acquiring 93.3 % stake in the Aircel Tele Ventures Ltd through its ‘wos’ the GCSHL.
This, Swamy said, was in excess of the then ceiling of 74 per cent investment by a foreign entity in the Indian telecom company.
Second illegality, Swamy said was that since the foreign investment in Aircel was more than Rs 600 crore it should have gone to the Cabinet Committee for Economic Affairs for approval but it was instead cleared by the FIPB.