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Aircel-Maxis case: Court discharges Maran brothers, others

New Delhi, Feb 2: A court here on Thursday discharged all accused in the Aircel-Maxis deal case, including former Communications Minister Dayanidhi Maran, observing that “no prima facie case warranting framing of charge against any of the accused is made out”.

Special Judge O.P. Saini discharged Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran, Kalanithi’s wife Kavery Kalanithi, South Asia FM Ltd (SAFL) Maging Director K. Shanmugam and three companies — SAFL and Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd (SDTPL) and South Asia Entertainment Holdings Ltd, Mauritius in two different cases.

The court was hearing two different matters related to Aircel-Maxis deal lodged by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The Maran brothers and company SDTPL were accused in both cases.

ED has chargesheeted the Maran brothers, Kavery, Shanmugam and companies SDTPL and SAFL as accused in the case while CBI has booked the brothers, company SDTPL and South Asia Entertainment Holdings Ltd in its case. “I am satisfied that the entire case is based on the misreading of the official files, contradictory statements of the witnesses as well as speculations and surmises of C. Sivasankaran. I have no hesitation in recording no prima facie case warranting framing of charge against any of the accused is made out,” the court said. “Accordingly, all accused stand discharged.” On August 29, 2014, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a chargesheet along with documents in 15 boxes.

The CBI had alleged that Dayanidhi Maran, as Minister in the UPA-I government, used his influence to help Malaysian businessman T.A. Anda Krishn 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. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita