CBI has recorded the statement of former Finance Minister P Chidamabaram in connection with the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to Rs 3500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006.
CBI sources said Chidambaram was recently asked to give a statement in connection with the case on the charge that the Finance Minister was competent for giving sanction only upto Rs 600 crore and the Aircel-Maxis deal was way above that limit.
The sources said the matter should have been referred to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) as foreign investments above Rs 600 crore can only be cleared by Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs headed by the Prime Minister.
The agency had informed the Special CBI court that how this clearance was given is still under investigation. “We have not concluded the probe on this aspect yet,” CBI prosecutor K K Goel had told the court.
When contacted, Chidambaram told PTI “they (CBI) took a brief statement from me on the FIPB approval. I repeated what I said in my press statement earlier. Nothing more than that”.
Chidambaram had said in September that the file regarding the case was put up before him by officials and he approved it “in the normal course”.
“In the Aircel-Maxis case, the FIPB sought the approval of the Finance Minister in accordance with the rules. The case was submitted through the Additional Secretary and Secretary, DEA. Both of them recommended the case for approval. Approval was granted by me, as Finance Minister, in the normal course”, Chidambaram had said in the statement.
He had said “I understand that the officials of FIPB who dealt with the matter have explained to the CBI that under the rules, as they stood then, the case required only the approval of the Finance Minister.