Madras HC rejects Sun TV’s plea against asset attachment

Chennai, June 10 (IANS) The Madras High Court on Wednesday dismissed the petitions filed by Sun TV and Kal Cables for quashing the asset attachment order issued by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) in connection with the Aircel-Maxis case.

Dismissing the petition, the court held that the company can approach the Supreme Court.

Counsel for ED argued that the matter is being monitored by the Supreme Court and hearing of the matter by any other court would impede the investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The petitioners contended that the properties attached were acquired much before the alleged crime and were not in any way connected with the alleged crime.

On April 1, the ED said in the Aircel-Maxis case it has attached properties worth Rs.742.58 crore belonging to Sun TV’s principal promoter Kalanithi Maran, his wife Kaveri Kalanithi and his brother Dayanidhi Maran, who was a minister in the previous United Progress Alliance (UPA) government.

The CBI has argued in the courts that Dayanidhi Maran used his influence to help Malaysian businessmen T. Ananda Krishnan to buy Aircel by coercing its owner C. Sivasankaran to part with his stake.

Sivasankaran alleged that Dayanidhi Maran favoured the Maxis Group in the takeover of his firm. He also alleged that the company made investments through Astro Network in a firm purportedly owned by the Marans.

Four companies — the Chennai-based Sun Direct TV, Britain-based Astro All Asia Networks, Maxis Communications Berhad of Malaysia, and the South Asia Entertainment Holdings of Mauritius — have also been named in charge sheet filed on August 29, 2014, by the CBI.

The CBI said there was sufficient evidence to prosecute the accused, and booked all of them on the charges of criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

On April 1, the ED said its probe revealed that illegal gratification of Rs.742.58 crore was paid by the companies based in Mauritius, meant for Dayanidhi Maran, in two companies — Sun Direct TV Pvt. Ltd. (SDTPL) and South Asia FM Ltd. (SAFL).

The main shareholder of the SAFL is Sun TV Network with 60 percent, while 20 percent each is with A.H. Multisoft Pvt. Ltd. and South Asia Multimedia Technologies Ltd., Mauritius.

 

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