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Apex court refuses Maran’s plea for Aircel-Maxis case

Apex court refuses Maran’s plea for Aircel-Maxis case
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The apex court said the Marans could state before the Special Court that the Aircel-Maxis case was not part of the 2G spectrum scam and therefore cannot be heard by the designated judge who has been nominated to hold prosecution of the cases exclusively arising out of the 2G scam.

“We make it clear that we are not giving any liberty to petitioners (Maran brothers) to approach the Delhi High Court but the special court would decide the juridictional issue raised by the petitioers,” a bench comprising Justices V Gopalagowda and R Banumathi said.

The bench said it was restoring the recalled order of February 6 to the extent only that their petitions were declared disposed of as withdrawn while making it clear that there was no liberty to approach the High Court.

Hours after declining to entertain the plea of former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanithi Maran in the Aircel-Maxis case and asking them to approach the High Court against the trial court order summoning them as accused, the bench had recalled its order on February 6.

The order was recalled after the CBI mentioned that the apex court judgements and orders were clear that no court, other than the top court, was entitled to hear any appeal arising out of the 2G scam cases.

However, the Chief Justice of India had then asked the bench to look the issue afresh. The bench, after hearing all the parties, passed the order with the observation “we are not inclined to pronounce judgement that whether it (Aircel-Maxis case) is 2G case or not. You have to go before the Special Court and agitate there and get an order”.

“We are bound by the judgements of this court. We can neither deviate nor differ. If we differ, we have to refer it to a larger bench,” the bench said.

The observation came after considering CBI’s submission by its senior advocate K K Venugopal, who argued that there were series of apex court judgements since 2011 that appeals arising out of the 2G cases cannot be heard by any court other than the apex court.

Senior advocates, C A Sundaram, Shekhar Naphade, Amarender Sharan and L Nageshwar Rao, rebutted CBI contention that the Aircel-Maxis case fell under the jurisdiction of the Special Court which has been set up exclusively to deal with the cases arising out of the 2G scam.

They said 2G cases covered those in which the apex court had cancelled the 122 licences for the 2G spectrum and Aircel-Maxis case was not one of them requiring to be under the jurisdiction of the Special Court.

Marans submitted that their right under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and Article 226 to approach the High Court cannot be curtailed and they would establish that their case stood on different footing than that of 2G cases.

However, Venugopal and other counsel like Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand and Special Public Prosecutor for 2G scam cases Anand Grover, submitted that the apex court had expanded the scope of investigation and all allocation of spectrum since 2001 had come under the scanner.

Venugopal said Bharati Cellular Ltd CMD Sunil Mittal, whose company was allocated additional spectrum during the tenure of late telecom minister Pramod Mahajan, also approched the apex court for relief against the trial court order summoning him as an accused along with others.

He said investigation was also done by the CBI into the spectrum allocation during the tenure of Arun Shourie and also during the tenure Dayanadhi Maran when a complaint against him was found to have been made by Chennai-based telecom promoter C Sivasankaran.
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