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Aircel-Maxis: Supreme Court agrees to hear plea on 2G court jurisdiction

Supreme Court today agreed to hear a plea of South Asia Entertainment Holding Limited, which has been summoned as accused along with ex-Telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and six others in the Aircel-Maxis case, challenging special 2G court's jurisdiction to try the matter.

By: | Published: September 23, 2016 7:04 PM
The trial court had said that the Aircel-Maxis deal "fairly and squarely falls within the description of 2G scam", and held that it has the jurisdiction to try the matter.

The trial court had said that the Aircel-Maxis deal “fairly and squarely falls within the description of 2G scam”, and held that it has the jurisdiction to try the matter.

Supreme Court today agreed to hear a plea of South Asia Entertainment Holding Limited, which has been summoned as accused along with ex-Telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and six others in the Aircel-Maxis case, challenging special 2G court’s jurisdiction to try the matter.

The company mentioned the matter before a bench headed by Justice J S Khehar, which after a brief hearing, said it would hear it on September 27.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the accused company, argued that the Aircel-Maxis case was not related to 2G spectrum scam.

He contended that CBI’s allegation that then Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran had pressurised Chennai-based telecom promoter C Sivasankaran, to sell the stake in Aircel to Malaysian firm Maxis Group in 2006 owned by Ananda Krishnan, has nothing to do with the 2G scam.

When the bench asked as to “what is the stage of trial”, Special Public Prosecutor Anand Grover said summons have been issued to the accused and some of them have also appeared before the 2G court.

The bench observed “all our orders say this is one of the related cases.”

To this, Salve said “I am not part of the 122 licences (cancelled by the apex court). The Supreme Court orders say about irregularities in grant of licences and about the loss caused to the public exchequer and corresponding gain to the licencee. But, no such allegations are there in my case.”

When the court asked Grover as to what he has to say on this, he submitted that he has not yet received the copy of petition and would be able to reply only after getting it.

The bench then posted the matter for September 27.

The special 2G court had on September 17 dismissed the pleas moved by Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi and others challenging its jurisdiction to try two cases filed by CBI and Enforcement Directorate in relation to the deal, claiming that these matters did not directly or indirectly fall into the category of 2G spectrum cases.

The trial court had said that the Aircel-Maxis deal “fairly and squarely falls within the description of 2G scam”, and held that it has the jurisdiction to try the matter.

Besides the Maran brothers, the CBI has named Malaysian business tycoon T Ananda Krishnan, Malaysian national Ralph Marshall and four firms– Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd, Astro All Asia Networks Plc, UK, Maxis Communications Berhad, Malaysia, and M/s South Asia Entertainment Holdings Ltd, Malaysia– as accused in the case.

They have been chargesheeted for the offences punishable under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

CBI had earlier alleged that Dayanidhi had “pressured” and “forced” Sivasankaran to sell his stakes in Aircel and two subsidiary firms to Malaysian firm Maxis Group in 2006.

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

Ex-Telecom Secretary J S Sarma, who had died, was also named in the CBI’s charge sheet. His name was put in a column of the accused against whom trial cannot proceed.

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