The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Wednesday attached assets worth Rs 742 crore belonging to the Maran brothers and Kalanithi Maran’s wife Kaveri Kalanithi in connection with its probe into alleged money laundering in the Aircel-Maxis deal in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.
The ED issued an order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for attachment of assets held by former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi and Kaveri. ED officers said the order was issued in connection with a money laundering offence relating to illegal gratification amounting to Rs 742.58 crore received by Dayanidhi.
A probe by Headquarter Investigation Unit in ED headquarters has allegedly revealed that the money was paid by companies based in Mauritius for Dayanidhi, in two companies — namely M/s Sun Direct TV Pvt. Ltd (SDTPL) and M/s South Asia FM Ltd (SAFL) — owned and controlled by Kalanithi. The money has been utilised by companies in their business or investments, according to the ED.
ED officers said their probe under the PMLA had further revealed that promoters of SDTPL are Kalanithi and Kaveri, holding 80 per cent of its shares. Shareholders of SAFL are M/s Sun TV Network Limited, with 60 per cent of shares, and M/s A H Multisoft Pvt Ltd. and M/s South Asia Multimedia Technologies Ltd, Mauritius, which hold 20 per cent shares each.
Kalanithi holds 75 per cent shares in M/s Sun TV Network Limited. ED officers also said Kalanithi and Kaveri hold 90 per cent and 10 per cent shares, respectively, in a company named M/s Kal Comm Pvt. Ltd. Among the assets attached are land and building owned by M/s Kal Comm Private Limited worth Rs 171.55 crores, freehold land and building owned by M/s Sun Network TV Pvt. Ltd worth Rs 266 crore and shares of SDTPL held by Kalanithi worth Rs 139 crore.
Under Section 5(1) of the PMLA, the ED has also attached fixed deposits held by Dayanidhi and others worth Rs 7.47 crore, fixed deposits held by SDTPL worth Rs 31.34 crore, fixed deposits held by SAFL worth Rs 6.19 crore, mutual funds held by SAFL worth Rs 15.14 crore, fixed deposit and mutual funds held by Kalanithi worth Rs 100 crore and Rs 2.78 crores, respectively, and fixed deposit and mutual funds held by Kaveri worth Rs 30 crore and Rs 1.78 crore, respectively.
In the Aircel-Maxis case, the CBI has already filed a chargesheet against Maran brothers and their companies and have charged them with criminal conspiracy under IPC and sections of Prevention of Corruption Act.
Dayanidhi has been charged with criminal conspiracy and making illegal pecuniary gains. It has been alleged that Dayanidhi entered into a criminal conspiracy with T Ananda Krishnan, owner of Malaysian company Maxis, and coerced Aircel owner C Sivasankaran to sell his shares to Krishnan allegedly in lieu of investments in Sun Direct TV Pvt. Ltd. Besides Marans, Krishnan, Ralph Marshall, a senior executive of Maxis Group and four companies, including Sun Direct TV Pvt. Ltd, have been named.
The CBI had alleged that a bribe was paid by Maxis through its subsidiary Astro All Asia Network Pvt Limited, based in the UK as investment in Kalanithi-owned Sun Direct Pvt Limited.