ED quizzes Marans

ED quizzes Marans

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has quizzed former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanidhi in the Aircel-Maxis case.

Sources said the investigators recorded the statements of Dayanidhi and his brother earlier this week under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
They could be summoned again if the agency needs any clarification on the statement they have given, sources said.

The Maran brothers were asked about their financial dealings and on the specific charges relating to the deal. The ED had issued summons in October asking the brothers to appear before it to record their statements.

The fresh questioning came as the ED appeared likely to issue an attachment order for seizing assets worth over Rs 742 crore in the case.

A Delhi court has earlier asked the Marans and other accused to appear before it on March 2 after taking cognizance of a chargesheet filed by CBI in the Aircel-Maxis case.
The ED case is based on the chargesheet filed by the CBI. Besides the Maran brothers, CBI has named Malaysian business tycoon T Ananda Krishnan, Malaysian national Augustus Ralph Marshall and four firms -- Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd, Maxis Communication Berhad, Astro All Asia Network PLC and South Asia Entertainment Holding Ltd -- as accused.

According to the chargesheet that contains the names of 151 CBI witnesses and 655 documents, Maran brothers received Rs 742 crore as "illegal gratification" for forcing Aircel owner C Sivasankaran to sell his telecom company to Maxis in 2006.
Maran "abused official position and constricted" the business environment of Aircel on "frivolous grounds" with intent to "force its exit" from telecom business and its sale to Maxis, the CBI said.

Aircel initially favoured a sale to Hutchison Essar Limited but Maran allegedly kept the matter pending.

However, after the change of ownership, the pending approvals before the Department of Telecommunications were "acceded to and undue favour was given to these companies" in granting telecom spectrum.

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