Special Judge O P Saini also ordered that the trial against the Maran brothers and two accused companies be segregated from that of those based in Malaysia — Krishnan, Marshall, and two firms Astro All Asia Network PLC and Maxis Communication Berhad — saying their appearance may take long time leading to a delay in proceedings.
“It is ordered that the trial of the appearing accused, that is, Dayanidhi Maran, Kalanithi Maran, M/s Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd and M/s South Asia Entertainment Holdings Ltd be segregated from the trial of accused Ralph Marshall, T Ananda Krishnan, M/s Astro All Asia Network Plc and M/s Maxis Communications Berhad... Miscellaneous file be opened relating these four accused, who are yet to be served. It is further ordered that an open and perpetual warrant of arrest be issued against Marshall and Krishnan,” the court said.
The court’s order came on CBI’s plea which had on August one sought issuance of arrest warrants against both the foreign nationals, stating that the summons issued to them could not be served. The CBI had filed the charge sheet against the eight accused for offences punishable under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
In the 27-page order, the court noted that the allegations against the accused were “serious” and the only way left was to approach the Interpol for which issuance of warrant was necessary. “They (Marshall and Krishnan) could not be served with the summons through the normal course by resorting to Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between the two countries.
“Malaysian authorities have categorically declined to effect the service. In such a situation, the only way left is to approach the Interpol and for that issue of warrant is necessary... In such a situation when further issuance of summons would be a futile exercise, it is rightful for the prosecution to ask for warrant of arrest against the accused,” the court said while allowing the agency’s plea.
While segregating the trial, the court noted that “the case would stagnate for no reason, as the production of the two accused (Marshall and Krishna) before this court and service of the two (Malaysia-based) companies is not likely to happen in near future. Already a period of more than two years has been lost in this exercise.”
On August 29, 2014, the CBI had filed the charge sheet in the case containing the names of 151 prosecution witnesses and a set of 655 documents on which it had relied upon in its probe. CBI had alleged that Dayanidhi had “pressured” and “forced” Chennai-based telecom promoter C Sivasankaran to sell his stakes in Aircel and two subsidiary firms to Malaysian firm Maxis Group in 2006.
The court had on October 29, 2014, taken cognisance of the charge sheet and issued summons to the accused in the case. The four other accused, including Marans, have already appeared before the court.