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Aircel-Maxis deal case: ED likely to call ex-DEA secy for questioning

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Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi | Published: June 15, 2018 5:09:08 am

The ED is also likely to summon Ashok Chawla, who was then additional secretary in the DEA and involved with the FIPB approval, the sources said.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is likely to call former Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) Secretary Ashok Jha for questioning in connection with the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

Jha had chaired the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) meeting in October 2016 when Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was approved for Aircel Televentures Ltd.

He could be called for questioning because, sources said, former finance minister P Chidambaram said during his questioning in connection with the case that all approvals were recommended by bureaucrats handling the matter in the FIPB and that he merely followed their recommendations.

The ED is also likely to summon Ashok Chawla, who was then additional secretary in the DEA and involved with the FIPB approval, the sources said.

Both Jha and Chawla have been earlier questioned by the CBI.

The ED has earlier questioned D K Singh, then director of FIPB, and Ram Sharan, then under secretary at FIPB, in connection with the case.

The ED questioned Chidambaram on June 5 and 12 and asked him how he approved FDI of over Rs 3,500 crore into Aircel by way of 74 per cent stake sale to Maxis when rules at that time stipulated that any investment beyond Rs 600 crore should have gone to Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for approvals.

After the questioning, Chidambaram had tweeted that there was nothing new to answer as all the questions and answers were already there in the FIPB files.

He also said the ED was probing him without any FIR.

Jha had earlier said in media interviews that there was no irregularity in FIPB approval given in the deal.

The ED on Wednesday filed a prosecution complaint against Chidambaram’s son Karti in a special court in connection with the case, alleging that he received kickbacks in the deal.

According to the ED chargesheet, Maxis had invested $800 million in Aircel—Rs 3,565.91 crore—as FDI which was approved by FIPB under Finance Ministry headed by Chidambaram.

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