Chidambaram questioned for five hours by ED in Aircel-Maxis case

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday questioned former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram for “over five hours” here in the Rs 3,500 crore Aircel-Maxis deal.

Chidambaram appeared at the ED’s office around 11 a.m. – within an hour after a city court extended the interim protection to him from arrest till July 10 in connection with the case after directing him to join the probe whenever required.

According to ED sources, Chidambaram was questioned till 1.30 p.m. when he was given a break and was allowed to step out of the ED office to have his lunch. The questioning resumed at 3 p.m. and continued till around 6 p.m.

It was the first time when the senior Congress leader joined the probe in the case. The ED had issued a fresh summon to him on Monday to appear before the investigating officer of the case. The agency recorded his statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The questioning is part of ED investigation in a money laundering case registered in 2017 against Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis case.

Earlier, the court had allowed interim protection to Karti Chidambaram till July 10.

The Central Bureau of Investigation and the ED are investigating how Karti Chidambaram allegedly managed to get a clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in the Aircel-Maxis deal when his father was the Union Finance Minister in 2006.

The ED, in September 2017, had attached Rs 1.16 crore worth of assets of Karti Chidambaram, who is being probed for allegedly receiving kickbacks in lieu of the FIPB clearance.

The ED is probing the Aircel-Maxis deal under the PMLA after taking cognisance of a 2011 Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) complaint in the case.