The Madras High Court on Wednesday rejected the appeal of the Maran brothers against attachment of property by the enforcement directorate in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.
The court rejected the plea by Kalanithi Maran, media tycoon and promoter of Sun TV network and Kal Cables, to quash the ED order attaching properties worth Rs 742 crore owned by him and his brother, former union minister Dayanidhi Maran.
The Maran brothers face charges of illegal gratification and money laundering in a deal between telecom company Aircel and Malaysia-based Maxis Communication in 2006.
Dismissing Marans’plea, Justice M Sathyanarayanan said it was not maintainable as money laundering matters were under the consideration of the Supreme Court. He advised the petitioner to approach the Supreme Court for relief or explore alternate remedies available.
The counsel for Enforcement Directorate opposed any relief to the petitioners saying that the matter was being heard by the Supreme Court, where 2G spectrum case and related matters were being considered.
Senior counsels Kapil Sibal and P S Raman, appearing for Maran, submitted that the company was not an accused in the case pending with the Supreme Court. “We are not meeting an investigation,” said Sibal and submitted that the high Court could hear the petition.
Raman argued that the properties attached were in now way connected to the case and that they were valued by the directorate at well below market prices.
According to the CBI, Dayanidhi Maran, while he was the union telecom minister between 2004 and 2007, stalled approvals for spectrum licences to Aircel, forcing owner Sivasankaran to sell his company to Maxis Communication.
The Malaysian firm was favoured by Maran and granted licence within six months after the takeover of Aircel, the CBI said. Maxis invested 742 crore in Sun Group, owned by Kalanithi Maran, allegedly as quid pro quo.
Sun TV Network in its petition, said that it has no direct or indirect links with the companies alleged to have received and utilised the proceeds of crime.