Millennium Post

Nine firms move HC over ED summons in Aircel-Maxis deal

Nine companies, which have come under the Enforcement Directorate's radar over money laundering charges in the Aircel-Maxis deal, have filed appeals in the Madras High Court challenging the summonses issued to them by the investigating agency. A single judge of the court had on January 5 dismissed petitions including that of former Union minister P Chidambaram's son Karti and the companies challenging the summonses saying their pleas cannot be entertained in view of the Supreme Court monitoring the probe over the Aircel-Maxis deal, a part of 2G scam cases.

In their appeals, the companies including Advantage Strategic Consultants Private Limited, said the circumstances had changed since the single judge passed the order as a special CBI court in Delhi in February discharged all accused in the Aircel-Maxis cases filed by the CBI and the ED.

Though Karti was a petitioner in the matter before the single judge, the present appeals have been filed only by the nine companies.

When the appeals came up for hearing, the bench of justices Huluvadi G Ramesh and RNT Teeka Raman directed Special Public Prosecutor for ED Anand Grover and Additional Solicitor General G Rajagopalan to seek necessary clarification from the Supreme Court whether the high court would have jurisdiction to hear the pleas.

The bench then posted the matter to June 5 for further hearing.

Earlier, senior counsel Vijay Narayan and Nalini Chidambaram, appearing for the petitioners, argued the circumstances when the single judge passed the order had changed after the special CBI court in Delhi discharged former Telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, his industrialist brother Kalanithi Maran and others in the Aircel-Maxis deal cases connected to the 2G spectrum scam.

They further submitted that the special judge in his February 2 order had quashed the FIR filed by the ED.

Hence the Supreme Court's bar on other courts entertaining matters related to 2G scam cases would no longer apply to this matter and the high court had jurisdiction to consider the appeals, they said.
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