NEW DELHI: Three months after the CBI registered a criminal case in the Aircel- Maxis deal, investigations into the case had stonewalled due to the inability of the investigators to collect information from Malaysia and Mauritius.
According to CBI sources, slow progress in collecting information from abroad had also delayed the interrogation of Maran brothers as there was a need to have more documentary evidence to confront them.
The future of the investigation rests on evidence from Malaysia-based companies, Maxis and Astro, both controlled by billionaire businessman T Anand Krishnan. He had used these two companies and another company based in Mauritius to make business investments in India.
All his investments, which amount to approximately 9,000 crores are under the agency’s scrutiny. The CBI’s FIR had named Krishnan as a co-accused in the case.
He is in the inner circle of the Maran brothers both as a friend and a business associate. According to the FIR, the Maxis through its wholly-owned subsidiary Global Communication Services Holding Limited (Global) purchased 99.3 percent stake in Aircel for `7,880 crore in 2006-7.
The deal was finalized when the Telecom Ministry was headed by Dayanidhi Maran, a DMK MP. Before Maxis purchased Aircel, it was owned by an NRI businessman C Sivasankaran. He filed a complaint last year with the CBI alleging that the Maran brothers arm-twisted him to sell Aircel to Maxis.
He also alleged that the brothers hugely benefited as Maxis’ owner Krishnan invested heavily in their companies. Within months of the Aircel-Maxis deal, Krishnan’s company Astro invested Rs 700 crore in Maran’s companies, Sun TV Network and Sun Radio.
Since the agency’s case rests on establishing the allegation of quid pro quo, details of investments made from abroad have to be legally collected. The only way to collect these information is to send a letter rogatory (LR) through diplomatic channels to the respective countries from where
the money was routed to India.
Sources say that the agency is presently engaged in preparing LR to be sent to Malaysia and Mauritius. However, the process is long-drawn and it seems the agency will take at least 3 to 4 months before it collects enough information to file a chargesheet in the case.