Aircel-Maxis: Maran illegally generated Rs 742.58 cr, says ED

Former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran.

Former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran.

Former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran had generated funds worth Rs 742.58 crore through illegal means and there was sufficient prima facie material to proceed against him and other accused in the > Aircel-Maxis deal related money laundering case , the Enforcement Directorate claimed on Monday.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) alleged in the special court that Dayanidhi had obtained “illegal gratification” of Rs 742.58 crore and the money was “parked” in the firms of his brother Kalanithi Maran, a co-accused, by projecting it as untainted.

ED’s special prosecutor Naveen Kumar Matta argued that the accused had actively participated in receiving the proceeds of crime through various Mauritius-based entities.

“In this case, we have qualified the proceeds of crime.

An illegal gratification of Rs 742.58 crore was obtained by Dayanidhi Maran as a result of criminal activity. Rs 742.58 crore was generated by him through illegal means,” Matta told Special CBI Judge O P Saini.

The agency said that as far as scheduled offence was concerned, the court had already taken cognisance of CBI’s charge sheet against the two Maran brothers and others in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

“As far as scheduled offence is concerned, cognisance has already been taken. The CBI’s charge sheet says about payment of illegal gratification to Dayanidhi Maran,” it said.

Detailing the role of Dayanidhi in the case, ED said “by committing the offence as alleged by the CBI in its charge sheet, he had generated funds of Rs 742.58 crore as proceeds of crime as quid-pro-quo.”

“At this stage, there are sufficient prima facie materials to proceed against these accused,” the ED said.

After hearing the submissions, the court said, “Arguments on the point of cognisance heard. Since records of the case are voluminous, put up for further arguments on February 6.”

Besides Dayanidhi, ED has named Kalanithi Maran, his wife Kavery Kalanithi, K Shanmugam, Managing Director of M/s South Asia FM Ltd (SAFL), and two firms — M/s Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd (SDTPL) and SAFL — as accused in the case filed under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Role of Kavery Kalanithi

During the arguments, the ED claimed that Kalanithi was controlling both the accused firms, SDTPL and SAFL, where the money was infused through Mauritius-based companies.

On being asked by the court regarding the role of Kavery, the agency alleged that she had attended the board meetings of these firms and played an active role.

It said that SDTPL and SAFL got Rs 549.03 crores and Rs 193.55 crores respectively from the proceeds of crime through various entities based in Mauritius.

During the hearing, the court asked the ED as to why only these four individuals were chargesheeted in the case.

In response, the ED’s prosecutor said, “these persons, including Kavery Kalanithi, had actively participated in receiving the proceeds of crime.”

In its charge sheet, ED has alleged that proceeds of crime of Rs 742.58 crore was paid by the Mauritius—based companies for Dayanidhi in the two firms, SDTPL and SAFL.

ED had alleged that it was ascertaining the route of Rs 742.58 crore allegedly laundered for which Letters Rogatory have been issued to concerned authorities in United Kingdom, Mauritius, Singapore and Malaysia.

The agency had said it had attached assets held by Dayanidhi, Kalanithi, Kavery and others equivalent to amount of proceeds of crime of Rs 742.58 crore under the PMLA.

In August 2014, the CBI too had chargesheeted the Maran brothers, Malaysian business tycoon T Ananda Krishnan, Malaysian national Augustus Ralph Marshall and four companies —— Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd, Maxis Communication Berhad, South Asia Entertainment Holding Ltd and Astro All Asia Network PLC —— in the case.

CBI had alleged in court that Dayanidhi had “pressured” and “forced” Chennai—based telecom promoter C Sivasankaran to sell his stakes in Aircel and two subsidiary companies to Malaysian firm Maxis Group in 2006.

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Printable version | May 17, 2022 10:23:21 am |