Has the end game started for former Finance Minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti? The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has unearthed $200,000 worth of transactions between Karti’s firm Chess Management Services Pvt Ltd and Maxis Group companies. This payment from Maxis Group to son’s firm puts Chidambaram under Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) radar for Prevention of Corruption Act too as he gave FIPB approval for Maxis to acquire Aircel that was deemed questionable.
It is learned that ED has also got clinching details about Maxis subsidiary Astro All Asia Network Plc’s investment of $50 million in New Delhi Television (NDTV) during the same period. Maran brothers are charge-sheeted in the Aircel-Maxis scam for Astro’s investment of $150 million in their Sun TV network during the same period. Now the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) have to reveal why Astro put money into NDTV during the scam period. The ED had already mentioned the fund flow from Astro to NDTV in their charge sheet against Maran and 2G Court had already sent Letter Rogatory (LR) to London to get the information on the flow of money.
During the scam period of 2006 -2007, NDTV had entered into an agreement with Astro in connection with the floating of a TV channel called Astro Awani in Malaysia. ED’s findings under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act are expected to help CBI register a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act also.
Coming back to Karti, ED had already unearthed his firm Advantage Strategic Consulting’s financial dealing with Aircel promoter C Sivasankaran. The ED’s raid had uncovered Karti’s massive investments, properties, hotels, farms in 14 countries acquired through Advantage’s Singapore unit.
Karti was supposed to be present in ED’s headquarters in Delhi on July 5. He sought some more time to get the papers together and now the ED has asked him to appear before July 20. The ED sleuths had found that Chess Management Services received more than $100,000 from a Maxis group company Bumi Armada Berhad. Chess Management had also received more than $60,000 from Maxis Mobile Sdn Bhd and around $35,000 from Astro All Asia Network. These two companies are already charge sheeted by the CBI and the ED for routing kick-backs to former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran’s family company Sun TV. The ED has now re-created the money trail to Chidambaram’s son’s companies during the scam period.
Receipt of money by Karti’s firms from both Aircel and Maxis is now established. All payments occurred after father Chidambaram approved the questionable FIPB clearance. CBI and ED in their charge sheets against the Maran brothers and Maxis had detailed the illegalities of approval given by Chidambaram to Maxis to acquire Aircel. As per the process, both agencies have to file Supplementary Charge sheets and CBI had already questioned Chidambaram and now son is to be questioned soon.
Is this the beginning of the end for the father-son duo and perhaps NDTV?
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