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Thursday, April 17, 2014  

Allegations on Aircel-Maxis deal ‘seems correct’
NEW DELHI Virtually approving the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) line of probe into suspected wrongdoing in the Aircel-Maxis telecom deal, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said the allegations levelled by the investigators appeared to be correct.

The CBI told the court that “an economically and politically powerful person in Malaysia is delaying the investigation”.

“The allegations (of quid pro quo) you have levelled (in the Aircel-Maxis) deal, prima facie it appears it is correct,” the court observed as the CBI told the court that it had completed the probe within the country.

Only the foreign angle, particularly in respect of Malaysia and Mauritius, was pending, senior counsel KK Venugopal, appearing for the CBI, told the court bench of Justice GS Singhvi and Justice KS Radhakrishnan.

The CBI is investigating whether C Sivasankaran, the original owner of Aircel, was forced by former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran to sell off his entire stake in the company to Malaysia-based Maxis owned by T Ananda Krishnan and the allegations of quid pro quo.

Venugopal took the court through the CBI’s report on its investigation into the alleged role of Maran in the Aircel-Maxis deal.

The CBI report was filed before the court in a sealed cover.

The court noted that Sivasankaran filed six applications seeking spectrum but these were not entertained by the department of telecommunications, then under Maran, but things started moving soon after he off-loaded his entire stake in Aircel to Maxis.

After Sivasankaran sold his stake to Maxis, a Mauritius-based company made a big investment in Maran family-owned Sun Direct channel.

Justice Radhakrishnan asked whether that investigating agency felt that any of the people named in the first information report were delaying the investigations.

Venugopal said: “An economically and politically powerful person in Malaysia is delaying the investigation so far as foreign angle was concerned.”

As the court wondered if there was a nexus between investment in Sun Direct and quid pro quo, Venugopal said that nexus has to be established.

“Unless we are able to show that Malaysian company was a holding company of the one in Mauritius through which funds came for Sun Direct, we can’t establish the link,” he said.

Meanwhile, the court stayed all the proceedings against Enforcement Directorate officer Rajeshwar Singh before the Allahabad High Court which is hearing a public interest litigation levelling allegations of wrongdoing against him.

Rajeshwar Singh is investigating into the violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act by various entities allegedly involved in the 2G case.

Additional Solicitor General Harin Raval told the court about the obstacle being created in the way of Rajeshwar Singh by way of frivolous complaints.

The court issued notice to the Uttar Pradesh government seeking a response within 10 days.

The court also asked the state government not to act on complaints being made against Rajeshwar Singh and his family members.

Agencies
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