A Delhi court on Thursday exonerated all the accused in the Airtel-Maxis case including the Maran brothers dealing a heavy blow to the CBI and Enforcement Directorate that has been probing the politically significant case for years.
However, Thursday’s order would not have any effect on the two accused Malaysian nationals — Ralph Marshall and T Ananda Krishnan — as the court has already segregated the trial against them from that of Maran brothers and others.
The order was passed by special judge O P Saini who is exclusively dealing with the 2G spectrum allocation scam cases and those cases arising out of the investigation into it.
Meanwhile, Dayanidhi Maran expressed his happiness over the judgment. “Very happy, let me absorb this news. A big moment, let us savour it,” he said.
Earlier, during the arguments on the framing of charge, Special Public Prosecutor Anand Grover had claimed that Dayanidhi had “pressurised” Chennai-based telecom promoter C Sivasankaran to sell his stakes in Aircel and two subsidiary firms to Malaysian firm Maxis Group in 2006.
CBI had filed a charge sheet against the Maran brothers, Ralph Marshall, T Ananda Krishnan, M/s Sun Direct TV (P) Ltd, M/s Astro All Asia Networks Plc, UK, M/s Maxis Communications Berhad, Malaysia, M/s South Asia Entertainment Holdings Ltd, Malaysia and then Additional Secretary (Telecom) J S Sarma who died during the course of the probe.
They were chargesheeted for alleged offences punishable under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
In the money laundering case, ED has chargesheeted the Maran brothers, Kalanithi’s wife Kavery, Managing Director of South Asia FM Ltd (SAFL) K Shanmugam, SAFL and Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd (SDTPL) under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Besides Maran brothers, the court discharged two companies – M/s Sun Direct TV (P) Ltd (SDTPL) and M/s South Asia Entertainment Holdings Ltd.
Mr. Maran was Telecom Minister between 2004 and 2007; he was replaced in Dr. Manmohan Singh’s cabinet by A Raja, who, like Mr. Maran, is from the DMK, and has been charged as the architect of another huge telecom swindle- “the 2G scam”.
Investigators say he accepted large bribes for allotting out-of-turn licenses to firms, while throwing in valuable spectrum or second-wave airwaves for free. M Kanimozhi, the daughter of DMK chief M Karunanidhi, has also been accused of corruption in the 2G case. “Finally, law has prevailed and justice has been done,” she said of today’s decision on Mr. Maran.