The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday moved the Supreme Court challenging the order of a special court that dropped all charges against former Union communication minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanithi Maran on Thursday. The ED challenged the order on the grounds that the Maran brothers had not furnished their bail bonds properly.
The special court had dropped the charges in the alleged scam pertaining to the Aircel-Maxis deal. Reacting to the news of the case of the Maran brothers being cleared, shares of Sun TV on Friday had soared nearly 25 percent to Rs 691 from their previous close.
What the special court had said
Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Judge OP Saini, while discharging the siblings, said there was no concrete evidence to prove the allegations of wrongdoing against the Marans, and that "contradictory oral statements" given by witnesses in the case were not acceptable legally. He said in his order: "This is a dangerous trend. If such practice is followed, anybody and everybody in government can be made to face prosecution."
Justice Saini, in his order, observed that the entire case was "based on the misreading of the official files, contradictory statements of the witnesses as well as speculations and surmises of [Aircel owner] C Sivasankaran." He added that there was "no prima facie case warranting framing of charge" against any of the accused in the case.
The brothers had been accused of accepting kickbacks of around Rs 740 crore in the deal, in charges filed by the CBI. The kickbacks were allegedly in return of Dayanidhi Maran helping Malaysia-based telecommunications company Maxis acquire Aircel. Other allegations included the former union minister sitting on certain permissions for Aircel in an effort to pressure Aircel owner C Sivasankaran to sell his company to Maxis.
On Thursday, the court was hearing two different cases pertaining to the Aircel-Maxis deal. One of them had been lodged by the CBI in 2011, and another by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in 2012. It dropped charges in both the cases, thereby providing relief to not only Dayanidhi and Kalanithi Maran but also Kalanithi's wife Kavery Kalanithi, South Asia FM Ltd (SAFL) managing director K. Shanmugam and three companies – SAFL and Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd (SDTPL) and South Asia Entertainment Holdings Ltd.
It may be noted here that the Maran siblings and SDTPM had been named as accused in both cases, with charges being filed against them.