Airtel-Maxis deal: CBI will close case without quid pro quo proof

The CBI on Thursday told the Supreme Court that if it was not able to establish the quid pro quo in the 2006 Aircel-Maxis deal, it would have to file a closure report in the case involving former Telecom Minister and DMK MP Dayanidhi Maran.

The probe agency said that its probe now depended a lot on the support that it could manage from Malaysia since it had already completed its investigation in the country.

Maran is facing probe for allegedly coercing Chennai-based telecom promoter C Sivasankaran to sell his stakes in Aircel to a Malaysian firm Maxis Group in 2006 owned by Kuala Lumpur-based business tycoon T Ananda Krishnan.

“When the CBI has to prove the quid-pro-quo, it needs to have evidence to prove the case of bribery. If the evidence is not there to make a case we will have to file a closure report. If the evidence is not given in the charge sheet, it will be thrown out of the court,” senior advocate K K Venugopal told a bench of Justices G S Singhvi and K S Radhakrishnan.

The senior counsel, appearing for CBI and Enforcement Directorate, said CBI cannot jump the gun to file the charge sheet. His response came after the bench asked him how long it would take to complete probe in foreign country.

“Nobody wants the CBI to jump the gun but the investigation cannot be for an indefinite period,” the bench said.

Going through the status report of the CBI and the ED, the court hoped that Indian High Commission in Malaysia will extend full cooperation to the probe agency. Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO CPIL alleged that the CBI probe in the transfer of shares from Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL) to Mauritius-based Delphi Investment Ltd did not inspire confidence as the agency has not questioned Reliance ADAG Chairman Anil Ambani.

On this, Venugopal said letters rogatory (LR) for the probe into the suspected bribe amount paid to public servants allegedly from RTL through Delphi Investment Ltd have been sent abroad.

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