CBI may book Marans in Aircel case

CBI may book Marans in Aircel case

The CBI is likely to file a charge sheet against former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanidhi, the promoters of Sun Group, for alleged coercion in the takeover of Aircel by Malaysian company Maxis as Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said there is enough material to initiate criminal proceedings against them.

The investigators are going through the legal opinion provided by Rohatgi, the representation sent by Maxis and evidence collected by it through Letters Rogatory. CBI Director Ranjit Sinha has said the agency will file the charge sheet within a week.

The Marans are accused of coercing Aircel owner C Sivasankaran to sell his stake to Maxis, owned by Malaysian businessman T Ananda Krishnan. The Malaysian businessman later invested Rs 650 crore in Sun TV network. Sivasankaran had later alleged that he was coerced by the Marans. The CBI had filed an FIR in 2011.

There is also pressure building up on the CBI to investigate the role of former finance minister P Chidambaram in giving clearance to the deal. 

AIADMK leader Thambidurai had raised the demand for an immediate probe against Chidambaram and his son Karti. Differences had cropped up among the top officials of the CBI on whether the Marans could be prosecuted with available evidence. Following this, the matter was taken to then Attorney General G E Vahanvati who did not respond.

With the NDA replacing the UPA, in which DMK was a major ally, the case gathered steam and after a nine-month delay, newly appointed AG Rohatgi gave his opinion in favour of filing a charge sheet.

Interestingly, Maxis has got legal opinion from two former chief justices of India V N Khare and S H Kapadia who opined that the case of coercion does not appear to be sustainable. 

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