SC refuses to stop CBI from filing charge sheet against Maran

SC refuses to stop CBI from filing charge sheet against Maran

The Supreme Court today refused to restrain CBI from filing charge sheet against former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran in Aircel-Maxis deal case arising out of the investigation in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

A bench headed by Justice H L Dattu said that the plea of Maran is "premature" and law does not allow it to restrain the agency from filing charge sheet againt him.

"Don't ask us to injunct CBI from filing charge sheet. You can't be seeking negative prayer," the bench, also comprising Justices S A Bobde and Abhay Sapre, said.

The bench said that the former DMK MP can challenge the charge sheet after it is filed.

The Aircel-Maxis deal also involved Kuala Lumpur-based business tycoon T Ananda Krishnan.

Senior advocate C A Sundaram, appearing for Maran, submitted that the agency is proposing to file charge sheet despite the probe in the case still going on and once the charge sheet is placed before the trial court "there will be stigma on me (Maran)".

The bench, which gave a patient hearing said, "We understand the repercussion. We may look into it if you say that charge sheet filed is defective. Till such time don't ask us to injunct CBI from filing chargesheet."

"It is not permissible in law," it further said.

The bench said that investigators in the case have favoured filing of charge sheet and even the hightest Law officer in the country (Attorney General endorsed it) and it would be "too premature" to restrain the CBI.

At the end of the proceeding, Maran's counsel also said that the case is not arising out of 2G scam and it should not be heard by a special CBI court dealing with the multicrore scam.

The bench, however, said that he can raise the issue in the appropriate court.

Facing threat of being chargesheeted, Maran yesterday approached the Supreme Court for restraining CBI from filing charge sheet against him.

In his plea, Maran alleged that CBI is proposing to file charge sheet out of political vendetta as the probe in the case is still not complete.

He submitted that the agency is yet to receive information from Malaysian authorities from which the CBI had sought information regarding the deal.

CBI had on August 12 told the apex court that charge sheet against Maran will be filed shortly as the Attorney General disagreed with the views of its Director Ranjit Sinha to drop the prosecution.

It had earlier said that its domestic investigation was complete but was facing hurdles in its overseas probe as it was not getting cooperation from Malaysian authorities.

Maran has been accused of "forcing" Chennai-based telecom promoter C Sivasankaran to sell the stake in Aircel to Malaysian firm Maxis Group in 2006 owned by Ananda Krishnan.

CBI had said Malaysian authorities have been asking clear proof of criminality and their Attorney General wrote strong letter to Indian Embassy officials in Kuala Lumpur.

The NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, had filed applications in the apex court alleging that Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval to the Aircel-Maxis deal was granted fraudulently.

The agency had earlier said the overseas probe was being delayed due to the influence of the firm's owner in Malaysia who is "powerful politically".

The agency had submitted that overseas probe was important to track the money trail as the funds for the deal had come through Mauritius.

The agency in July 2011 had placed a status report in the court stating that during 2004-07 when Maran was Telecom Minister, Sivasankaran was coerced to sell the stake in Aircel to Maxis Group.

The report, part of which was read, had said the Malaysian firm was favoured by Maran and was granted licence within six months after taking over Aircel in December 2006.

Maran was the Telecom Minister between February 2004 and May, 2007.

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