The Supreme Court of India. (File photo)
New Delhi: Supreme Court on Friday asked BJP leader Subramanian Swamy to bring "concrete material" to support his allegations of illegality committed by then Finance Minister P Chidambaram in granting FIPB clearance to Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006.
"You show us some concrete material," a bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar told Swamy when he argued that the then Finance Minister had given Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to the deal which should have been referred to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).
He argued before the bench, that also comprised Justices N V Ramana and D Y Chandrachud, that the issue of FIPB clearance should have been referred to the CCEA, headed by the Prime Minister, as the CCEA alone was empowered to clear foreign investments over Rs 600 crore.
"The money transaction involved in the process was around Rs 3,500 crore. FIPB clearance was given by the then Finance Minister, who should have sent it to the CCEA as the investment was way over Rs 600 crore," he claimed. To this, the bench asked him, "What is the material before us? Finance Minister deals with 200 files daily".
However, Swamy contended that being the Finance Minister, Chidambaram should have been aware about it and "no Finance Minister can say I did not know this".
"You show us some material which indicate that he knew about it," the bench then said.
Swamy referred to the CBI charge sheet in Aircel-Maxis deal case and said the agency had said the Finance Minister was competent to give approval of upto Rs 600 crore. Since the amount was Rs 3,500 crore in this matter, only the CCEA was competent to grant the clearance.
"He (Chidambaram) approved it (FIPB clearance). He signed it," he claimed.
At this juncture, the bench said, "at the moment you have to satisfy us that there is material. We will issue noticeonly if we are satisfied".
Swamy said he would argue this issue to show how the then Finance Minister knew that the matter should have been referred to the CCEA.
The bench asked him to file material in support of his allegations and granted him time of two weeks. The court would hear the matter after two weeks.
Recently, a special court had discharged former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his industralist brother Kalanithi Maran and others who were chargesheeted by the CBI and ED in connection with the Aircel-Maxis case and a money-laundering matter relating to the deal.