Aircel-Maxis case: Supreme Court refuses to hear Marans’ plea

File photo of Kalanidhi Maran and Dayanidhi Maran.

File photo of Kalanidhi Maran and Dayanidhi Maran.

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to intervene with a summons order issued by the 2G Special Court to former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanithi Maran in connection with the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

A Bench of Justices V. Gopala Gowda and R. Banumathi declined to hear the petitions of the Marans challenging the jurisdiction of the Special Court, set up exclusively to try cases related to the 2G Spectrum scam and cancellation of 122 Spectrum licences allegedly allotted illegally to companies.

The Marans argued that the Special Court had no jurisdiction to summon them as the Aircel Maxis deal concerned a “personal dispute” and had no relation to the Spectrum scam.

But the Bench, in its written order, observed that the Marans should question the “jurisdictional aspect” before the Special Court itself.

With this, the Bench restored its earlier order on Friday allowing the Marans to withdraw their petitions. On that day, the court had recorded a plea by Mr. Dayanidhi Maran’s counsel, senior advocate C.A. Sundaram, that his client could approach an “appropriate forum” for further redress.

The same order saw the court place on record the submission of senior advocate L. Nageshwar Rao, appearing for Mr. Kalanithi Maran, that he was withdrawing the petition “reserving liberty to the petitioner to move the High Court.”

But this order was recalled the same day when the CBI objected. The petitions were then scheduled to be heard on Monday.

On Monday, appearing for CBI senior advocate K. K. Venugopal sought clarification. He submitted that the order on Friday, later recalled, gave a “wrong” impression that the Marans were at liberty to move the High Court to quash the Special Court summons.

Mr. Venugopal read out a series of judgments of the Supreme Court in the 2G Spectrum case, which mandated that any challenge to any order of the Special Court should come straight to the Supreme Court and not the High Court.

But senior advocates Shekhar Naphade and Aryama Sundaram, appearing for Mr. Kalanithi Maran and Mr. Dayanidhi Maran, respectively, rejected the CBI’s contentions.

“When my case has nothing to do with the 2G scam, these Supreme Court judgments and the 2G Special Court do not apply for me. If mine is a regular criminal case, can my legal right to go to the High Court to quash the summons order be taken away?” Mr. Sundaram countered the CBI.

Mr. Sundaram said that he was now placed in a “unique position”. “I can neither go to the High Court nor the Supreme Court,” he submitted.

Rejecting the arguments, Justice Gowda orally observed that once a trial court has taken prima facie cognisance of a charge sheet, the right to seeking quashing of the court order was not an “absolute right”.

The Bench further refused a plea to exempt the Marans from personal appearance in the Special Court on March 2, 2015.

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2022 6:34:29 am |