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I and my family have no stake in Aircel or Maxis: PC

Last updated on: May 10, 2012 15:16 IST

I and my family have no stake in Aircel or Maxis: PC

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The Opposition on Thursday targeted P Chidambaram in the Lok Sabha over the Aircel-Maxis deal, dubbing it as a "big scam" allegedly involving his son, but the home minister dismissed the charges as "wild and reckless".

Declaring that neither he nor any member of his family had acquired or had any stake in Aircel or Maxis, Chidambaram quoted from a statement of his son Karthi, hours after a BJP leader had accused him of having 5 per cent stake in either of the companies.

Amid vociferous chants against him by the Opposition, which was demanding his resignation, Chidambaram read out a statement issued by his son, Karthi.

"I categorically state that neither me nor any member of my family have acquired or hold any stake in Aircel or Maxis. The person is known to make wild and reckless allegations. It is deeply regretted that the privileged forum of Parliament is misused to level wild and reckless allegations against a private citizens," Chidambaram said.

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While he spoke, BJP members stormed the Well and raised slogans. BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, who raised the issue, was seen asking under what rule Chidambaram was making the statement in the House.

The Home Minister said he was making the statement as a member had levelled allegations "against me and a member of my family".

Objecting to the manner in which the issue was raised by Sinha without giving any notice, Chidambaram said, "I pray to God to forgive their sins."

The uproar led to adjournment of the House twice -- first at 12.30 pm till 2 pm, and then to 4 pm.

Earlier raising the issue during Zero Hour, Sinha said, "Prima facie, what has happened is a big scam and government should not hush it up" as the Rs 4,000 crore deal has raised several serious questions and has led to a major controversy.

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Sinha wanted a statement from Pranab Mukherjee, who is the Leader of the House as also the finance minister.

Without naming Chidambaram, who was the finance minister in 2006 when the deal took place, Sinha alleged that the minister had not recused himself when the matter came up before the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) of which he was the head.

Amid cries of 'shame, shame', Sinha said there was a conflict of interest as Chidambaram's son had allegedly bought 5 per cent shares. He maintained that the then Finance Minister should have kept away when the matter came up for decision.

Besides, he wanted to know whether the transaction had taken place in March or October 2006 or in between this period as it has its own implications.

He wondered as to how Maxis can buy 99.3 per cent of the shares of Aircel when the rules permit that a foreign equity cannot exceed 74 per cent. He said it was a matter of investigation whether the remaining equity was sold to an Indian at a throw-away price.

While Mukherjee was present in the Lok Sabha as also Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Chidambaram was not there. AIADMK members too trooped into the Well seeking to have a say in the matter.

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