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Court grants Chidambaram interim protection from arrest


New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) A special court here on Monday granted interim protection from arrest to former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram till August 7 in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

Special Judge O.P. Saini asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to file a reply on the bail plea of P. Chidambaram and listed the matter for August 7 for further hearing.

The CBI on Friday filed a chargesheet against 18 people in the Aircel-Maxis deal case including former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and his son Karti.

Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court on Monday listed the matter for hearing the anticipatory bail plea of Chidambaram in the INX media money laundering case on Tuesday.

His son Karti was arrested on February 28 for allegedly taking money to facilitate the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media in 2007 when his father was the Union Finance Minister in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. Later, Karti was granted bail.

The CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) are investigating how Karti Chidambaram managed to get clearance from the FIPB.

In the Aircel-Maxis deal case, the CBI and ED are investigating Karti Chidambaram’s alleged role in getting FIPB clearance for the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006.

On August 29, 2014, the CBI had filed a chargesheet in the case alleging that between July 2004 and September 2008, Dayanidhi Maran, as Minister in the UPA-I government, used his influence to help Malaysian businessman T.A. Ananda Krishnan buy Aircel by coercing its owner Sivasankaran to part with his stake.

Sivasankaran alleged that Maran favoured the Krishnan-owned Maxis Group in the takeover of his company. In return, he alleged, Maxis made investments through Astro Network, a sister concern, in Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd (SDTPL), stated to be owned by the Maran family.

However, a special court had dropped charges against former Communications Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi and others in the alleged kickback of Rs 742 crore in the Aircel-Maxis deal, saying that the "perception or suspicion" was not backed by concrete evidence.

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