Maran brothers appear before special court, move bail pleas

New Delhi: Former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran and four others today appeared before a special court in pursuance of the summons issued to them in a Aircel-Maxis deal-related money laundering case and moved their bail pleas.

Besides Maran brothers, Kalanithi's wife Kavery Kalanithi and K Shanmugam, Managing Director of South Asia FM Ltd (SAFL) also moved their bail application before Special CBI Judge OP Saini after which the court issued notice to Enforcement Directorate (ED) and posted the matter for July 21.

The court had on February 27 summoned all the four accused persons and two firms ' SAFL and Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd (SDTPL) ' as accused in the case. The summons were issued by the court while taking cognisance of ED's charge sheet against the six accused under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The court had said there was "enough incriminating material" to proceed against the accused. The court also asked the ED to continue the ongoing investigation and file fresh complaints, if required.

ED has chargesheeted the six accused under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). During arguments earlier, ED's special prosecutor N K Matta had claimed that there were money transactions which allegedly showed that SDTPL and SAFL had received Rs 742.58 crore as "proceeds of crime" from Mauritius-based firms in the Aircel-Maxis deal.

The agency had claimed that "proceeds of crime" amounting to Rs 549.03 crore and Rs 193.55 crore were received by SDTPL and SAFL, allegedly controlled by co-accused Kalanithi Maran, respectively through various Mauritius-based entities.

The ED prosecutor had referred to the details of money transactions between these firms and alleged that SDTPL had received Rs 549.03 crore from Mauritius-based firm M/s South Asia Entertainment Holding Ltd.

ED had earlier alleged before the court that Dayanidhi had generated funds worth Rs 742.58 crore through illegal means and there was sufficient prima facie material to proceed against him and other accused in the case.

It had alleged that Dayanidhi had obtained "illegal gratification" of Rs 742.58 crore and the money was "parked" in the firms of Kalanithi by projecting it as untainted. ED had also claimed that Kalanithi was controlling both SDTPL and SAFL, where the money was infused through Mauritius -based companies.

In August 2014, the CBI too had chargesheeted the Maran brothers, Malaysian business tycoon T Ananda Krishnan, Malaysian national Augustus Ralph Marshall and four companies -- Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd, Maxis Communication Berhad, South Asia Entertainment Holding Ltd and Astro All Asia Network PLC -- in the case.

CBI had alleged that Dayanidhi had "pressurised" and "forced" Chennai-based telecom promoter C Sivasankaran to sell his stakes in Aircel and two subsidiary companies to Malaysian firm Maxis Group in 2006. All the accused have denied all charges levelled against them by these investigating agencies.

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