SC extends deadline for probe in Aircel-Maxis deal case

New Delhi:The Supreme Court Thursday extended by three months the deadline given to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to complete the probe in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said the probe should be completed in three months. 

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED, said the agency needs some two-three months to complete the probe as it needs to confront some accused with several e-mails. 

The ED is probing a money laundering case in the Aircel-Maxis matter arising out of 2G spectrum cases.

The top court had in March directed investigating agencies CBI and ED to complete their probe in the 2G spectrum allocation cases and other related matters, including the Aircel-Maxis deal in six months.

The bench had observed that investigation has been going on for a long time and people of this country cannot be kept in the dark on a sensitive matter like this.

Aircel-Maxis case: SC recuses from hearing Swamy’s plea

New Delhi: A Supreme Court judge today recused herself from hearing a plea of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy seeking to implead himself as a party in a case related to probe into alleged disproportionate assets of an ED officer investigating the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

Swamy said the petition filed by Rajneesh Kapur seeking investigation of assets of ED officer Rajeshwar Singh, in which the top court had on June 5 sought assistance of Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, was an attempt to delay the ongoing probe in the Aircel-Maxis case.

A vacation bench of justices S Abdul Nazeer and Indu Malhotra asked Swamy to mention the matter on June 25 before another bench as Justice Malhotra recused herself from hearing in the matter without assigning any reason.
“You mention the matter on next Monday (June 25). The bench will be sitting in different combination at that time,” the bench said.
During a brief hearing, Swamy said that the apex court had earlier this year directed for completion of investigation in the Aircel-Maxis deal case within six months.

Supreme Court refuses to pass any order on promotion of ED official

The Supreme Court today refused to pass an order regarding the promotion of an Enforcement Directorate officer probing the Aircel-Maxis deal case, who has claimed that frivolous complaints filed against him was deterring the department to promote him.
The official, Rajeshwar Singh, has alleged that due to such false allegations being levelled against him, including one by a “so-called journalist” who was recently arrested by CBI, the department has not given him the promotion due to him.

A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said it could pass any order regarding the promotion of the officer only after it went into the merits of the case.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Singh, said the officer was currently investigating the Aircel-Maxis case and has been in a target of frivolous complaints.

“False allegations are being levelled against him by over 20 frivolous complaints made to the department. Last complaint was made by a so-called reporter who made completely baseless allegations. These complaints and allegations have hindered my promotion which was due to me for past seven months,” Rohatgi said.

The bench asked Rohatgi why the probe in the Aircel-Maxis case has not been completed in six years.

He said that 2G spectrum case probed by the officer has been completed and the trial court has given the verdict, while Aircel-Maxis case is being monitored by the top court.

“That so called reporter, who had made the frivolous complaints, was recently arrested by CBI on charges of extortion, blackmail and others. He (journalist Upendra Rai) has also filed a petition before the apex court for protection and was mentioned on the last date of hearing, but it appears that the plea has now been withdrawn,” Rohatgi said.

He said the court should grant some protection to the officer that no such complaints are entertained by the department and the promotion due to him be given. “At least the court should for now make observation in the order that the promotion due to him, should be given,” Rohatgi said.

The bench said, “For that we have to go into merits of the case before passing any orders. We have to hear other parties also to pass orders in the matter”.

BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Subramaniam Swamy, appearing in person, said earlier too, the court had protected the officer who has done “excellent work” in the case.

He also supported Rohatgi’s argument and said his promotion should not be held up for such false complaints.

The bench said there were several part-heard matters listed today and would take up the case next week.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED, said he has filed a chronology of the dates and orders passed by the courts regarding the case.

The apex court had last week refused to interfere with the arrest of journalist Upendra Rai by the CBI for his alleged involvement in dubious financial transactions.

Rai had claimed he was framed in the case as he has been writing against ED official, Rajeshwar Singh, who was also part of the team which probed the 2G spectrum allocation scam case.

On November 1 last year, the supreme court had restrained the government from taking any action against Singh, following some anonymous complaints against him. The court’s direction had come after Singh had alleged there was a “conspiracy” behind filing of “frivolous anonymous complaints” against him.

Aircel-Maxis: Court’s order on charge on Nov 30

Aircel-Maxis: Court's order on charge on Nov 30
Aircel-Maxis: Court’s order on charge on Nov 30

A special court has reserved its order on the issue of framing charges against former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran and others in the Aircel-Maxis deal case lodged by CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Special Judge O P Saini would pronounce on November 30 the orders on framing of charge as well as on bail applications of the Maran brothers and other accused persons.

“Arguments on point of charge and bail for both parties are complete. Both parties prayed that they wish to file written submissions also. They are at liberty to file the same within seven days. Put up the matter for order on charge and bail on November 30,” the court said.

All the accused have denied the allegations against them by the investigating agencies and all of them have moved bail pleas in the case.

During the arguments on framing of charges, Special Public Prosecutor Anand Grover had claimed that Dayanidhi had “pressurised” Chennai-based telecom promoter C Sivasankaran to sell his stakes in Aircel and two subsidiary firms to Malaysian firm Maxis Group in 2006. The charge was strongly refuted by Dayanidhi.

CBI had filed charge sheet against the Maran brothers, Ralph Marshall, T Ananda Krishnan, M/s Sun Direct TV (P) Ltd, M/s Astro All Asia Networks Plc, UK, M/s Maxis Communications Berhad, Malaysia, and M/s South Asia Entertainment Holdings Ltd, Malaysia and then Additional Secretary (Telecom) late J S Sarma.

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

In the money laundering case, ED has chargesheeted as accused the Maran brothers, Kalanithi’s wife Kavery, Managing Director of South Asia FM Ltd (SAFL) K Shanmugam, SAFL and Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd (SDTPL) under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The court had summoned the six accused after taking cognisance of the ED’s charge sheet, saying there was “enough incriminating material” to proceed against them.

( Source – PTI )

Final arguments in 2G scam case to begin tomorrow

A Delhi court is likely to commence hearing from Monday the final arguments in the 2G spectrum allocation scam case involving former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and 15 others.

Special CBI judge O P Saini, who had concluded recording of defence evidence in the case on September 10, had fixed the case for November 10 for hearing the final arguments.

CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of 122 licences for 2G spectrum which were scrapped by the Supreme Court on February 2, 2012.

The special judge, who is exclusively dealing with 2G scam cases, had concluded recording of defence evidence in the case in which the CBI had examined 153 witnesses while the accused called 29 witnesses in their defence.

The recording of evidence in the case involving Raja and 16 others started three years ago on November 11, 2011, after the court framed charges against the 17 accused named in the first two charge sheets filed by the agency.

The court has recorded statements of 153 CBI witnesses, including Reliance ADAG Chairman Anil Ambani, his wife Tina Ambani and former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, running into over 4,400 pages in the case.

Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja’s erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra, three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) — Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair — are facing trial in the case.

Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Kalaignar TV Director Sharad Kumar and Bollywood producer Karim Morani are also accused in the case.

Besides these 14 accused persons, three telecom firms — Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL), Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd — are facing trial in the case.

The court had on October 22, 2011, framed charges against them under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating,forgery, faking documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe.

The offences entail punishment ranging from six months in jail to life imprisonment.

The court had earlier said that out of 17, seven accused had not wished to lead evidence in their defence.
It had said Vinod Goenka, Swan Telecom (P) Limited (now Etisalat DB Telecom (P) Limited), Gautam Doshi, Reliance Telecom Ltd and Kanimozhi had mentioned in their statement under section 313 CrPC itself that they do not wish to lead defence evidence.

Later on, co-accused Balwa and Morani, who had earlier desired to lead defence evidence, did not examine any witness and their statements were recorded accordingly, the court had observed.

The judge had also said that “about 1,150 miscellaneous applications were filed by parties in this case and all, but one filed by the prosecution and the one filed by Vijay Aggarwal, advocate, stand disposed of”.

The court had fixed November 10 date for hearing final arguments as during this period, the case involving promoters of Essar Group, Loop Telecom and others, Aircel-Maxis deal case and Enforcement Directorate’s money laundering case were also listed for hearing.