Demands for CBI Probe Into Aircel-Maxis Deal in LS

New Delhi
Demands for CBI Probe Into Aircel-Maxis Deal in LS

Demands for an urgent CBI inquiry into the Aircel-Maxis issue was made in the Lok Sabha today, with AIADMK members alleging involvement of Karti Chidambaram, son of former Finance Minister, in the "shady deal" which they claimed had links with the 2G scam.

Participating in a special discussion on the issue, T J Venkatesh (AIADMK) also repeatedly referred to two former DMK Union Ministers and a former Finance Minister in the UPA-II by name but Speaker Sumitra Mahajan disallowed it.

Venkatesh regretted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power on the promise of unearthing black money, but his government was doing precious little to bring to book those behind the Aircel-Maxis deal which has "deep roots in the infamous 2G scam, the biggest in independent India".

Amid loud protests from Congrerss and Left members, the debate was taken up with Speaker Sumitra Mahajan saying she had got a notice of BJD leader Bhartruhari Mahtab for a discussion on the matter and she was allowing it.

Congress and Left members were protesting against the immediate taking up of discussion on the Aircel-Maxis issue when the Motion of Thanks for the President for his address was still being debated by the House. Congress members were heard protesting the "match-fixing" between a section of the opposition and the government.

Congress and Left members later staged a walkout when Venkatesh started speaking after Mahtab initiated the debate.

Mahtab claimed that no FIR has been lodged yet in the Aircel-Maxis deal and CBI and ED have not filed chargesheet so far, despite the fact that the money laundering trail in the deal has allegedly spread to 14 countries including British Virgin Islands.

Mahtab, who was interruped sometimes even by TMC's Saugata Roy, wondered whether the BJP and Congress were "doing a match fixing" by ensuring no action in the deal allegedly involving some of the powerful people in the UPA-II.

Speaker earlier allowed the discussion by overruling the points of order raised by Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and TMC's Saugata Roy.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu made a strong pitch for such a debate noting that there were umpteen number of discussions on the Ayodhya issue and those related to Gujarat earlier despite the matters being sub-judice.

Earlier, AIADMK MPs created ruckus in Lok Sabha for the second day today demanding action against former Union Minister P Chidambaram's son Karti on the Aircel-Maxis issue as Speaker Sumitra Mahajan allowed them to raise the matter later in the day. 

Venkatesh also noted that DMK chief M Karunanidhi, whose party had kept away from Congress in the last Lok Sabha elections, have again joined hands.

Participating in the discussion, Kirit Somaiya (BJP) claimed that as per his account, 436 companies were floated in 28 countries which were used as "layers" to distribute money.

He also alleged that companies floated by Karti were involved in the ambulance scam reported from Rajasthan and quoted a purported 2013 letter by UPA government's Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad in which cases of embezzlement were listed out with regard to National Rural Health Mission when his company used to provide ambulances. "Even poor villagers were not spared...," Somaiya alleged.

When Somaiya referred to a CBI FIR naming former Telecom minister Sachin Pilot, Karti and Ravi Krishna, son of former Union minister Vayalar Ravi, Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) wondered whether BJP members would name the daughter of the Gujarat Chief Minister against the backdrop of allegations that the company in which she has stakes was allotted land at cheap price by the state government.

At one point of time NCP's Supriya Sule and Somaiya were involved in a heated exchange when the Congress MP apologised to Sule while naming a coffee shop chain as one of the companies where Karti had business interest.

"Why apologise? You don't owe me anything. Rules have been broken, democracy has been murdered," she shot back and received support from Owaisi.

Abhijeet Mukherjee was the sole Congress member present in the House at one point of time, who too left the chamber.

Trinamool Congress members walked out after their leader Sudip Bandopadhyay said his party would have preferred continuation of discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the President Address as they wanted to hear the Prime Minister.

"We are going to polls. They will be announced tomorrow or day after...This debate is based on a report by one newspaper. The university (JNU) issue is important," Bandopadhyay said adding this government is now "bare foot sarkar" not "suit-boot ki sarkar".

His party colleague Saugata Roy said the issue was taken up keeping in mind the Tamil Nadu polls due shortly. His remarks were objected to by Naidu as well as the Speaker. 

Nishikant Dubey (BJP) wondered why the CBI was slow in probing the matter claiming that the agency has already established that the then Finance Minister had given FIPB approval beyond his powers without taking the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs into confidence.

He said the Department of Telecom had opined that foreign ownership of the company needed heightened scrutiny, but still, the FIPB gave clearance.

Pappu Yadav (RJD) said all politicians should be scrutinised and questioned the source of money spent by them in electioneering. Some of his remarks on politicians relating to corruption were expunged by the Speaker.

Earlier in the day, AIADMK MPs had stormed the Well raising slogans and demanding action from the government, almost as soon as the House met for the day.

Amid the din, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu had said the government had no problem in discussing the issue in any manner and also take necessary action.

It was only when the Speaker said she was ready to allow discussion on the issue after Question Hour, the protesting AIADMK members returned to their seats.

AIADMK members were earlier raising slogans like 'NDA sarkar take action' and displaying copies of a newspaper which has claimed that Karti has invested in real estate in various countries, as per investigations by Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax authorities during searches at his premises.

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