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Aircel-Maxis case: HC seeks response from Maran brothers on CBI plea

Aircel-Maxis case: HC seeks response from Maran brothers on CBI plea
The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran and others on the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) plea challenging their acquittal in the Aircel-Maxis case.

Justice S.P. Garg sought response from the Maran brothers and others on the CBI's plea, and posted the matter for hearing on August 29.

The CBI has challenged a February 2 trial court order dropping all charges brought by both CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against them. The trial court had said that "no prima facie case warranting framing of charges against any of the accused is made out" on the basis of the materials placed on record before it.

After the ED approached the High Court against acquittal of the accused, the court last week sought response from the Maran brothers and others in its plea.

The CBI had booked the Maran brothers, companies Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd (SDTPL) and South Asia Entertainment Holdings Ltd in its case.

The Aircel-Maxis case is related to allegations that Dayanidhi Maran, as Minister in the UPA-I government, used his influence to help Malaysian businessman T.A. Ananda Krishnan buy Aircel by coercing its owner Sivasankaran to part with his stake.

Sivasankaran alleged that Maran favoured the Maxis Group in the takeover of his company. In return, he alleged, the company made investments through Astro Network in a company stated to be owned by the Maran family.

The money was paid in two companies namely SDTPL and SAFL, which were controlled by Kalanithi Maran. The probe revealed that promoters of the SDTPL are Kalanithi Maran and his wife Kavery Kalanithi.

The chargesheet was filed under Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and other relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Both CBI and ED had registered cases against the accused and they were discharged in both the cases.

In the money laundering case, ED had charge-sheeted the Maran brothers, Kavery Kalanithi, SAFL Managing Director K. Shanmugam and companies -- SAFL and SDTPL -- who got acquitted by the court.

In its chargesheet, ED has alleging that Rs 742.58 crore was paid as illegal gratification to Dayanidhi Maran by Mauritius-based companies.



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