ED to attach Marans' property in Aircel case

ED to attach Marans' property in Aircel case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) will soon proceed to attach movable and immovable properties of former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanithi Maran in connection with the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

Orders for attachment of the Maran brothers’ property would be issued by the economic offence investigation agency “very soon”, sources told Deccan Herald.

“The property to be attached will be equal to the amount the Maran brothers are accused of receiving as bribe in the case,” added the sources.

Under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the ED has powers to attach property of the accused in order to secure the “proceeds of crime (money)” from being disposed of.

However, the attachment of the accused’s property, carried out by the ED, remains “provisional” until it is confirmed by the adjudicating authority.  

Within six months from the date of attachment, the adjudicating authority either holds that it should remain in the custody of the ED till the conclusion of the trial, or be released.

The Maran brothers are accused of accepting bribe in the form of shares through two companies in instalments.

According to the ED, a bribe of Rs 549 crore was paid to the Kalanithi-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 Limited, another company owned by Kalanithi.  

Prior to the ED filing a money-laundering case against the Maran brothers and others, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) charged Dayanidhi with stalling spectrum licence allocations to Aircel Limited so it was forcibly sold to Malaysia’s Maxis Communications, which in turn picked up equity in the Sun Network.

ED sources said provisional attachment of the Marans’ property would be carried out first at Sun Direct TV Private Limited and South Asia FM Limited, as “proceeds of the crime were received through these two companies”.

“If required, other properties of the Maran brothers will also be attached,” said sources.
Besides the Maran bothers, Malaysia-based business tycoon T Ananda Krishnan, Malaysia-based firm Maxis Communication Berhad, Malaysian national and a top executive of the Maxis group, Augustus Ralph Marshall, as well as UK-based Astro All Asia Networks and Mauritius-based South Asia Entertainment Holding Limited are accused in the case, instituted by the CBI.

The CBI had submitted a charge sheet against all the eight accused, including the four companies, in court in August last year.

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