Aircel-Maxis case: Court to pass order on charges on 18 January

Special judge O.P. Saini deferred the framing of charges to 18 January, saying the order was yet to be prepared


Former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran. Photo: Mint
Former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran. Photo: Mint

New Delhi: A special court will next week pronounce its order on framing of charge against former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran and others in two cases relating to the Aircel-Maxis deal, lodged by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Special judge O.P. Saini, who was scheduled to pass the order on Monday on framing of charge as well as on the bail applications of the Maran brothers and other accused persons, deferred it to 18 January, saying the order was yet to be prepared.

All the accused have denied the allegations against them made by the investigating agencies and moved bail pleas.

During the arguments on the framing of charge, 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.

CBI had filed a chargesheet against the Maran brothers, Ralph Marshall, T. Ananda Krishnan, M/s Sun Direct TV Pvt. 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 in 2014.

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

In the money laundering case, ED has chargesheeted as accused 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).

The court had summoned the six accused after taking cognisance of the ED’s charge sheet, saying there was “enough incriminating material” to proceed against them.

While arguing on framing of charge against him, Dayanidhi had claimed that during the time period in which the alleged crime was committed, as claimed by the CBI, Sivasankaran was in talks with several companies to sell his stakes in Aircel. It was only in October 2005, the business transaction between Aircel and Maxis was finalised, his counsel had said.

Claming that he was being falsely implicated in the case, Kalanithi had also argued that CBI’s claim was false and the complainant was himself eager for the business.

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