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Aircel-Maxis deal: CBI says charges will be filed against Dayanidhi Maran

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday told the Supreme Court it will file charges against former Telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran in the Aircel-Maxis deal by the end of this month.Senior counsel
IANS August 13, 2014 8:53 IST
IANS
New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday told the Supreme Court it will file charges against former Telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran in the Aircel-Maxis deal by the end of this month.

Senior counsel KK Venugopal, appearing for the CBI, told the Apex Court bench of Justice HL Dattu, Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh and Justice SA Bobde that the chargesheet would be based on evidence collected within the country as the Malaysian authorities were refusing to cooperate.

"We have problem about Malaysia. For the last two years they are asking proof of criminality. They are not making available the material sought by us. Once they even wrote a strongly worded letter to our ambassador...,” Venugopal told the court.

At this, Justice Dattu said, "The Union of India will have to take up this matter."

Venugopal said, "Some strong measures will have to be taken."

The CBI decided to go ahead with the filing of chargesheet following Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi's opining that there was enough evidence that the agency had gathered domestically to go ahead with the filing of the chargesheet against Maran in Aircel-Maxis deal that was concluded in 2006.

Rohtagi's opinion was sought following sharp differences between CBI Director Ranjit Sinha and another director on launching prosecution.

Sinha held there was not sufficient evidence to proceed against Maran.

C Sivasankaran, the original owner of Aircel, had alleged that he was pressured by Maran to sell the company to Maxis owned by T Ananda Krishnan.

The central probe agency has also claimed quid pro quo on this matter, saying that in return the Malaysian company invested Rs 650 crore in Sun TV owned by the Maran family.

The CBI also told the court that it needed replacement for special public prosecutor UU Lalit, whose name has been recommended as a Supreme Court judge.

The court asked Venugopal to suggest three names of independent people to be considered by it.

The court also directed the restoration of DIG Santosh Rostogi who, counsel Prashant Bhushan said, has been shunted out from the investigation of the multi-crore 2G case.

Bhushan told the court that Rastogi was supervising the probe in the 2G cases.

Asking why it was done, Justice Dattu said: "If it is done, then rectify it immediately."

Appearing also for Enforcement Directorate, Venugopal told the court that the department was taking ‘intensive steps' to trace the money trail sent abroad so that it could be brought back.

Rest, he said, depends on the co-operation of foreign governments.

The court asked the CBI to also place before it all records relating to the Reliance Telecom case as Bhushan told the court that the investigating agency was trying to re-probe that matter.

This, Bhushan alleged, was being done on new points and facts that contradicted the present charges. He told the court that there was an attempt to stall the on going trial.

Bhushan also claimed that Lalit has strongly reacted to the move, saying it would derail the trial which was nearing completion.

The court will hold the next hearing on September 2.

At that time, the Apex Court will also hear the pleas by DMK leader Kanimozhi, Reliance Telecom and the company's senior executives Surendra Pipara, Gautam Dosi and Hari Nair.

They have sought the quashing of the charges framed against them in the 2G case, being exclusively heard by a Special CBI Court on a day-to-day basis.

Besides these defendants, the court is also scheduled to hear the pleas by Essar Teleholdings and its promoters and executives, Anshuman S Ruia and Ravi N Ruia.