The Delhi High Court on Friday issued notice to former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran and others on an Enforcement Directorate plea challenging their acquittal in the Aircel-Maxis case.Justice S.P. Garg sought response from the Maran brothers and others on the ED's plea and posted the matter for hearing on August 29.The ED, challenging a February 2 trial court order of acquittal, contended that the special court had erred in its order and not considered entirely the issue of money laundering and violation of provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.The trial court, dropping all charges brought by both CBI and the ED against them, had said that "no prima facie case warranting framing of charge against any of the accused is made out" on the basis of the materials placed on record before it.In the money laundering case, ED had charge-sheeted the Maran brothers, Kalanithi's wife Kavery Kalanithi, South Asia FM Ltd (SAFL) Managing Director K. Shanmugam and companies -- SAFL and Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd (SDTPL) -- who got acquitted by the court.
The Aircel-Maxis case is related to allegations that Dayanidhi Maran, as Minister in the UPA-I government, used his influence to help Malaysian businessman T.A. Ananda Krishnan 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.In its chargesheet, ED has alleging that Rs 742.58 crore was paid as illegal gratification to Dayanidhi Maran by Mauritius-based companies.The money was paid in two companies namely SDTPL and SAFL, which were controlled by Kalanithi Maran. The probe revealed that promoters of the SDTPL are Kalanithi Maran and Kavery Kalanithi.Both CBI and ED had registered cases against the accused and they were discharged in both the cases.The chargesheet was filed under Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and other relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.