CBI free to file charge sheet against Maran: SC

DMK leader says probe not complete

CBI free to file charge sheet against Maran: SC

The Supreme Court on Thursday termed “premature” a plea made by former Telecom minister and DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran seeking a direction to the CBI not to file a charge sheet against him in the 2006 Aircel-Maxis deal.

Maran rushed to the apex court contending that filing a charge sheet against him would have serious repercussions on his political and personal life. He claimed that the CBI’s investigation in the FIR registered in 2011 was still not complete.

A three-judge bench of Justices H L Dattu, S A Bobde and A M Sapre, however, said if what he said was true, then a defective charge sheet could always be challenged before the court.

“Seeking a direction to the CBI not to file charge sheet is absolutely impermissible,” the court said, disposing of the petition filed by the former MP.

The CBI registered an FIR in October, 2011 in the Aircel-Maxis case, in which Maran has been accused of forcing Chennai-based telecom promoter C Sivasankaran to sell the stake in Aircel in 2006 to a Malaysian firm, Maxis Group, owned by Kuala Lumpur-based business tycoon T Ananda Krishnan.

With the CBI getting the Attorney G nod, Maxis had knocked on the doors of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley seeking a “fair and unbiased” treatment and an opportunity to plead its case to clear the air. Maxis has, in a representation, urged the CBI to examine the December 2005 board meeting of Aircel that approved the controversial transfer of its stake to Maxis.

Maxis has got legal opinions from two former chief justices of India, V N Khare and S H Kapadia, who said that the case of coercion does not appear to be sustainable. With the decks cleared by the Supreme Court, top CBI sources said the agency was likely to file the charge sheet on Friday.

Senior advocate C A Sundaram, appearing for Maran, sought urgent hearing in the matter fearing adverse action on part of the CBI. He contended that since the CBI had not completed its investigation, it should be injuncted not to file the charge sheet. Since the case is being monitored by the apex court, the CBI should be directed to first complete the investigation, he said.

He also said the CBI had earlier told the apex court that its probe in Malaysia was not finished. Senior advocate K K Venugoapl, appearing for the probe agency, countered him saying it was wrong to attribute such a statement to the CBI.

Acknowledging difference of opinions in the CBI, the bench told the counsel, “Even if we assume for a moment that what you are saying is correct but here director of prosecution says investigation is complete. The director disagrees. An opinion is sought from the highest law officer, he says time has come for charge sheet. If it is defective, you can seek its quashing.” 

The counsel sought permission to withdraw the petition, which was allowed by the bench. During the hearing, Sundaram also said the CBI should be directed not to file the charge sheet in the matter in the 2G special court, claiming it was a separate case. The court, however, said he could raise these issues later before the appropriate forum.

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