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BJP renews fire on Aircel-maxis deal

Demands debate in Parliament again to take the earlier allegations against Chidambaram forward

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has given a notice demanding a debate in Parliament on the Aircel-Maxis deal in the 2G telecom spectrum allocation controversy.

BJP leaders explained the notice for a new date for discussion on Aircel-Maxis was needed because the debate in the House this May was not completed.

Though Opposition parties had collectively wanted the United Progressive Alliance government to allow MPs to seek clarifications, the government had not allowed it.

Arun Jaitley, leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, has given a notice asking the Union government the next date for debate on Aircel-Maxis. Chidambaram had met L K Advani on Sunday and Jaitley yesterday to discuss proceedings in the ongoing monsoon session, to ensure things went smoothly.

BJP leaders say Chidambaram didn’t discuss the Aircel-Maxis controversy.

BJP and other opposition MPs had accused Chidambaram of benefitting from the Aircel-Maxis deal and wanted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to drop the then home minister from his cabinet.

“One minister of this government had to resign because of that. The investigation in the matter is pending with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The minister has made a statement with regard to the fact that there was no delay in according FIPB permission. One of the key questions which has not been addressed is that while all this is pending and the matter goes to the FIPB, did somebody intrinsically connected receive some part of the shareholdings of the company whose application is pending? That is the key issue. This key issue does not seem to have been addressed,” Jaitley had said in Parliament during the debate.

BJP seniors have continued to put pressure on the government for clarifications, as they believe some of the crucial questions were not answered by the UPA during the debate.

Jaitley had also questioned how on the eve of the FIPB clearance in 2006, a member of the then finance minister’s family had financial transactions with the companies concerned.

The senior BJP leader also wanted to know how the e-mail and web address of Ausbridge Holdings and Investments (a company earlier owned by Chidambaram's son) and Advantage Strategic Consulting, which is alleged to have invested in Aircel-Maxis, were the same. The CBI has already registered a case against former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran and DMK MP Kalanithi Maran and Malaysian business tycoon and Maxis owner, T Ananda Krishnan and Maxis Director Ralph Marshall.

It has said the Marans received kickbacks from the Malaysian firm in the form of investments into Sun Direct (promoted by Kalanithi Maran, brother of Dayanidhi Maran) after the Aircel-Maxis deal was struck. Krishnan paid Rs 3,390.82 crore for a 74 per cent equity in Aircel.

Astro, also a part of Ananda Krishnan’s media-telecom empire, announced a $160 million investment in Sun Direct for a 20 per cent stake. Last year, Astro raised its stake in Sun Direct to 35 per cent.

First Published: Thu, August 09 2012. 00:14 IST