Taking forward the money laundering probe in the Aircel-Maxis deal, the Enforcement Directorate has questioned the Maran brothers – Dayanidhi and Kalanithi – in connection with its criminal case against them.
Sources said the investigators, early this week, recorded the statements of Dayanidhi, the former Telecom Minister, and his businessman brother Kalanithi here after they were issued notices in October this year.
“Both the Marans have been questioned and their statements recorded under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. They could be summoned again,” sources said.
The duo were questioned about their personal and official financial dealings and on specific charges related to the deal.
Some documents submitted by them are being scrutinised, they said.
Officials said the fresh questioning of the Marans was essential as the ED is expected to issue an attachment order for seizing of assets of an estimated value of over Rs 700 crore in this case and all questions regarding criminal actions had to be answered by those involved and booked, they said.
Other executives involved in the deal are also now being questioned, they said.
The ED is probing the case based on a CBI FIR in the matter.
Besides the Maran brothers, the CBI has named Malaysian business tycoon T Ananda Krishnan, Malaysian national Augustus Ralph Marshall and four firms – Sun Direct TV, Maxis Communication Berhad, Astro All Asia Network and South Asia Entertainment Holding – as accused.
The CBI has charged them with the offences punishable under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The CBI had alleged in the court that Dayanidhi Maran had “pressured” and “forced” Chennai-based telecom promoter C. Sivasankaran to sell his stakes in Aircel and two subsidiary firms to Malaysian firm Maxis Group in 2006.
The ED’s money laundering case is based on this.