The Hindu Business Line
Apex court seeks reply on plea to stop Aircel-Maxis from selling spectrum
The Supreme Court today asked CBI and ED to respond on an application that has sought a direction to stop Aircel-Maxis from allegedly selling allotted spectrum to Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications claiming it would allow Maxis to “escape law and abscond” with crores of rupees.
A bench of Justices JS Khehar and Arun Mishra asked both the probe agencies to file their reply within two weeks and posted the matter for hearing on January 6 next year.
The application has been filed by NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, which has also sought directions to attach the properties and spectrum of Aircel.
Both CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) have already filed separate charge sheets in Aircel-Maxis deal case and have named former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi and others as accused.
It has been alleged that Marans had coerced C Sivasankaran, then owner of Aircel, to sell his shares to T Ananda Krishnan, who was the promotor of Malaysian company, Maxis.
A special CBI court has reserved its order on framing of charges against all the accused. The case against them had arisen during the probe into the 2G spectrum allocation scam which was monitored by the apex court.
The application, filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan, has claimed that promoters of Aircel started the process of selling the spectrum allotted to them and the equity in December and they are “desperate to complete all the deals as soon as possible”.
The NGO has also submitted that their main asset is spectrum.
“Spectrum, which is a precious natural resource belonging to the people of India, has been allotted to Aircel/Maxis by the government. Today, the company is attempting to quickly sell off its allotted spectrum to Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications for thousands of crores (of rupees), and exit the market with huge sums of money,” the plea has alleged.
“If the deal between Aircel and Bharti Airtel and the deal between Aircel and Reliance Communications is allowed to go through, then that would allow Maxis to escape the arm of law and abscond with thousands of crores of money,” it has claimed. The petition also said that ED had attached assets worth ₹742 crore of the Marans in the court-monitored investigation in the 2G spectrum scam and filed charge sheets.