ED sends letters rogatory in Aircel case

ED sends letters rogatory in Aircel case

In a bid to unearth money laundering cases in the controversial Aircel-Maxis deal, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) last month dispatched letters rogatory (LRs) to Malaysia and the tax haven of Mauritius.

The ED sought details of suspected foreign nationals and companies that wired Rs 742.58 crore bribe hedged as equity investments in two firms owned by former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran’s brother Kalanidhi.

The Marans are accused of accepting bribe in form of shares through two instalments.
The ED has said that a bribe of Rs 549 crore was paid to Kalanidhi-owned Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd under the garb of purchase of shares by Astro All Asia Networks Plc (AAN).
Another Rs 193.55 crore was paid again by AAN under the pretext of buying equity shares in South Asia FM Ltd, a company owned by Kalanidhi.  

Prior to the ED filing a money laundering case against the Marans, the CBI had charged Dayanidhi of stalling spectrum licence allocations to Aircel Ltd, so that it was forcibly sold to Malaysia’s Maxis Communications which in turn picked up equity in Sun Network.
Through the LR sent to the Malaysian government, the ED has sought official records about AAN director Ralph Marshall, director of Malaysia-based Usaha Tegas T Ananda Krishnan, and Maxis Communication to dig out finer details of their investments in telecom businesses in India from 2005 to 2011.

The LR gives the address of suspected individuals and companies to request Malaysia to probe financial institutions, including banks and other institutions, to get “records connected with the entry in the telecom business in India by Maxis Communications Bhd, Malaysia, by acquiring Aircel Ltd and transferring funds to India under the garb of capital investment in India in the companies of Kalanidhi Maran as payment of illegal gratification to Dayanidhi Maran under quid pro quo.”

According to the LR, AAN is based in Kuala Lumpur. It says that the company was incorporated in England and Wales and registered in Malaysia as a foreign firm. Similarly Maxis, which had invested in Sun group, is also based in Kuala Lumpur.  

In the second LR to Mauritius,  the ED sought information about four companies that were used for making offshore payments to the Marans.  

One of the Mauritius-based companies the ED identified is Global Communications Services, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Maxis Communications.

The LR identifies them as South Asia Software Technologies and South Asia Multimedia Technologies, both having addresses in Mauritius.  

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