Aircel-Maxis probe led to evidence in INX Media case: ED

By Sumit Saxena

New Delhi, Aug 26 (IANS) Investigations into the Aircel-Maxis case helped in joining the dots against former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in the INX Media case in connection with the money trail, an Enforcement Directorate source said.

The Delhi High Court, which denied anticipatory bail to Chidambaram, took on record a statement by businessman Manoj Mohanka, recorded on October 14, 2016 in the Aircel-Maxis case. Mohanka claimed that 60 lakh shares of Artevea Digital Ltd, UK, of value 0.01 pound each were allotted to Advantage Strategic Consulting, Singapore without any payment on the instruction of Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram. The court twice made reference to the Aircel-Maxis case in its order.

Mohanka, in his statement, said that when Artevea Digital Ltd, of which he was director, was in financial crisis in 2008, he had met Karti Chidambaram then for help in arranging funds as his wife, Payal Singh Mohanka, was his contemporary at Cambridge University in the 1990s.

In response, Karti Chidambaram had asked Mohanka "to place him suitably so that he may act on behalf of Artevea UK for raising capital" and asked him to allot the above shares amounting to Rs 60 lakh approximately (60,000 pounds), as per the Delhi High Court order.

In compliance to the request, Artevea allotted 6 lakh shares without any payment to Karti Chidambaram, who failed to raise any funds but did not return these shares or pay any money for them. This reference to the Aircel Maxis case was cited under the details of the investigation conducted to ascertain who controlled Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt Ltd. (ASPCL). The court indicated that it appeared that ASCPL and other concerns are beneficially controlled and managed by Karti Chidambaram.

On Monday, during the hearing in protection of arrest of P. Chidambaram in the ED case under INX Media, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Congress leader, questioned the Delhi High Court reference to the Aircel-Maxis case when the only petition before the court was in connection with the INX Media case.

"And the Aircel-Maxis is a case where the CBI has already taken 11 adjournments so far," Sibal argued.

A source in ED speaking to IANS on the condition of anonymity said: "The Aircel-Maxis and INX Media cases are being investigated jointly. The ED has established the money trail linking Chidambaram family to apparent kickbacks in both cases. A strong case of money laundering is made out against him in INX Media."

In a second reference to the Aircel-Maxis case, the Delhi High Court order said: "Money laundering involved in this INX Media Scam and Aircel Maxis deal scandal is of Rs 3,500 crore."

(Sumit Saxena can be contacted at sumit.s@ians.in)

--IANS

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