Aircel-Maxis Cases : Court discharges Maran brothers

AircelA special court discharged former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran and others in the Aircel-Maxis deal cases lodged by CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

However, today’s order would not have any effect on the two accused Malaysian nationals — Ralph Marshall and T Ananda Krishnan — as the court has already segregated the trial against them from that of Maran brothers and others.

The order was passed by Special Judge O P Saini who is exclusively dealing with the 2G spectrum allocation scam cases and those cases arising out of the investigation into it.

CBI had filed a charge sheet against the Maran brothers, Ralph Marshall, T Ananda Krishnan, M/s Sun Direct TV (P) Ltd, M/s Astro All Asia Networks Plc, UK, M/s Maxis Communications Berhad, Malaysia, M/s South Asia Entertainment Holdings Ltd, Malaysia and then Additional Secretary (Telecom) J S Sarma who died during the course of the probe.

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They were chargesheeted for alleged offences punishable under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

In the money laundering case, ED has chargesheeted the Maran brothers, Kalanithi’s wife Kavery, Managing Director of South Asia FM Ltd (SAFL) K Shanmugam, SAFL and Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd (SDTPL) under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Besides Maran brothers, the court discharged two companies – M/s Sun Direct TV (P) Ltd (SDTPL) and M/s South Asia Entertainment Holdings Ltd.

During arguments on framing of charges, Special Public Prosecutor Anand Grover had claimed that Dayanidhi had “pressurised” Chennai-based telecom promoter C Sivasankaran to sell his stakes in Aircel and two subsidiary firms to Malaysian firm Maxis Group in 2006.

The charge was strongly refuted by Dayanidhi. All the accused had denied the allegations against them made by the investigating agencies and had moved bail pleas.

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