2G Spectrum scam: Special court reserves order in Aircel-Maxis case to 29 October

A special court dealing with the 2G spectrum allocation case on Monday reserved its order in the case to 29 October, by which time it will decide on the action to be taken on the charges filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran and six others in the Axis-Maxis deal.

During a brief hearing, CBI's prosecutor KK Goyal told the court that cognizance should be taken of the charges as a prima facie case is made out against all the accused.

"Our prayer is that cognizance should be taken. This case involves investigation in foreign countries as well. Prima facie case is made out against all the accused persons and sufficient grounds are there against them," the prosecutor said.

To which Special CBI judge OP Saini said, "Arguments on the point of cognizance heard. Put up for order on October 29."

The court, meanwhile, asked the prosecutors as to whether all the documents related to the case have been filed before the court, to which the prosecutors said they have filed the relevant documents before the court although their investigation in the case is continuing.

Besides the Maran brothers, the CBI has named Malaysian business tycoon T Ananda Krishnan, Malaysian national Augustus Ralph Marshall and four firms - Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd, Maxis Communication Berhad, Astro All Asia Network PLC and South Asia Entertainment Holding Ltd - as accused in the case.

In charges filed on 29 August, CBI had accused them of offences punishable under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The 72-page charge sheet includes the names of 151 CBI witnesses and a set of 655 documents, on which the agency has relied upon in its investigation.

The CBI had, on 11 September, told the court that Dayanidhi had "pressurised" and "forced" Chennai-based telecom promoter C Sivasankaran to sell his stakes in Aircel and two subsidiary firms to Malaysian firm Maxis Group in 2006.

According to the CBI, "Several issues relating to Sivasankaran's firms were kept pending by Dayanidhi Maran, who was the then telecom minister, and no decision was being taken on them.

"There was strangulation of these three companies and they were unable to perform their business," the agency said. It had said that as soon as Maxis Group bought Sivasankaran's firms, all the pending issues were cleared by Dayanidhi giving undue benefit to the Malaysian company.

The Malaysian firm was favoured by Dayanidhi and granted licence within six months after the takeover of Aircel in December 2006, it had said.

Former telecom secretary JS Sharma, who has since died, has also been named in the CBI's filing. However, his name has been put in a column of the accused against whom trial cannot proceed.