Aircel-Maxis case: Charge sheet filed against Maran brothers

Aircel-Maxis case: Charge sheet filed against Maran brothers

New Delhi, Aug 29 (IANS) The CBI Friday filed a charge sheet against former communications minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran, Malaysian business tycoon T. Ananda Krishnan and others in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

The charge sheet was filed before special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Judge O.P. Saini, who will hear the matter Sep 11.

The CBI has named five individuals. As one among them has died, charges against him have abated. The four individuals now formally charged are the Maran brothers, Anand Krishnan, and Augustus Ralf Marshal while the fifth dead accused is J.S. Sharma.

The CBI has booked them under charges of criminal conspiracy and various provision of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Four companies has also been named in the charge sheet, which has 72 operative pages and names 151 witnesses. Sun Direct TV Pvt. Ltd. along with Britain-based Astro All Asia Networks Plc, Maxis Communications Bhd in Malaysia, and South Asia Entertainment Holdings Ltd. in Maurititus have been named in the charge sheet.

“The investigation revealed that the then telecom minister had allegedly abused official position and constricted the business environment of Chennai-based private firm on frivolous grounds with an intent to force its exit from telecom business and its sale to a Malaysia-based company,” CBI said.

“After the change of ownership, the approvals pending since long before the department of telecommunications were acceded to and undue favour was given to these companies after such transfer for which alleged illegal gratification of around Rs.549 crore was paid by Britain-based company to Chennai-based TV company in the garb of purchase of its shares at a premium of Rs. 69.57 per share through its subsidiary, a Mauritius-based company.”

The CBI added that “an illegal gratification of around Rs.193 crore was also paid by the Britain-based company to a company of Chennai through its subsidiaries of Mauritius-based monitoring company and another software company of Mauritius.”

The decks for filing of charge sheet were cleared after Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi opposed the stand taken by CBI Director Ranjit Sinha that further probe should be carried out in the matter.

In his opinion, Rohatgi said that the available material with the CBI is enough to prosecute the Marans in the Aircel-Maxis case.

The CBI filed its FIR in the case in 2011 alleging that the then minister Dayanidhi Maran had used his influence to help Malayasian business tycoon Ananda Krishnan acquire Aircel by allegedly coercing its owner Chinnakannan Sivasankaran to part with stakes.

It was alleged by former Aircel chief Sivasankaran that Dayanidhi Maran had favoured Malaysia-based Maxis Group in the takeover of his company and in return, investments made by the company through Astro network in a company stated to be owned by the Maran family.

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