Aircel-Maxis case: SC rejects plea against jurisdiction of 2G court
South Asia Entertainment Holdings and South Asia FM, two of the accused told the court that they could not be held accused under the main 2G case since they were not involved in the issue of grant of 2G licences
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea challenging the jurisdiction of a special 2G court to hear the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case.
South Asia Entertainment Holdings Ltd and South Asia FM Ltd (SAFL), two of the accused told the court that they could not be held accused under the main 2G case since they were not involved in the issue of grant of 2G licences.
“We do not have a problem in being tried but not in the special 2G court. This is because we have been held accused for a commercial transaction for which we should not be tried under the special 2G court,” said Siddharth Luthra, senior advocate representing South Asia Entertainment Holdings.
The Aircel-Maxis case is related to allegations that then telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran forced Aircel owner C. Sivasankaran to transfer his ownership to Maxis Communications Bhd in 2006. The Malaysian company, in return, invested in Kalanithi Maran’s Sun Direct, the direct-to-home arm of his Sun TV Network Ltd.
On 17 September, a special CBI court had rejected Marans’ challenge to its jurisdiction. The court is hearing two separate cases in the Aircel-Maxis cas—one being probed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the other by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The accused in the CBI money laundering case included Malaysian business tycoon T. Ananda Krishnan, Malaysian national Augustus Ralph Marshall and four companies.
These are Sun Direct TV Pvt. Ltd (SDTPL), Maxis Communication, South Asia Entertainment Holding Ltd and Astro All Asia Network.
CBI had also approached the court seeking arrest warrants against the two accused Malaysian nationals and two companies—Maxis Communication and Astro All Asia Network Plc and said that the investigating agency would seek a red corner notice against the accused after arrest warrants had been issued.
In the ED case, based on the chargesheet filed by the enforcement directorate (ED), Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran, Kalanithi’s wife Kavery Kalanithi, managing director of South Asia FM Ltd (SAFL) K. Shanmugam, and companies SAFL and SDTPL were among those summoned by the court as accused.
The ED claimed that Kalanithi Maran was controlling both SDTPL and SAFL, where the money was pumped in through Mauritius-based companies.
Proceeds of the crime, amounting to Rs.549.03 crore and Rs.193.55 crore, were allegedly received by SDTPL and SAFL, respectively, through Mauritius-based entities.