Sunday 31 August 2014

Aircel-Maxis case: are the Malaysian authorities refusing to cooperate?

The CBI has chargesheeted former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran for abusing his position to "constrict the business environment" forcing mobile operator Aircel to sell stake to Malaysian company Maxis in lieu for two sets of 'gratification' totaling rs 742 crore.

The chargesheet also figures the Maxis' owner T Ananda Krishnan besides Maran's brother and chairman of Sun Network Kalanithi Maran among others.

According to the chargesheet, the CBI is also looking into "the aspect of irregularity in grant of FIPB approval" in the stake sale. CBI said it was investigating the FIPB approval to Global Communication Services Holdings Ltd and the role of Indian partner, Sindya Securities and Investments Ltd, in holding 26% equity of Aircel.

Maran had approached the Supreme Court on Thursday saying CBI should be restrained from filing the chargesheet as the information from Malaysia was awaited and the investigation was incomplete. But CBI officials told ET that though Malaysia has refused to offer any information about the deal, the information received by the agency from UK and Mauritius was enough to file a chargesheet.

The above from an article in The Economic Times. Other articles about this matter can be found here, here and here, they contain the following sentences:

....the chargesheet would be based on evidence collected within the country as the Malaysian authorities were refusing to cooperate.

The CBI said it had completed the investigations without receiving a reply from Malaysia as responses from the UK and Mauritius helped them establish the charges.

The agency had told the apex court that overseas probe was being delayed due to the influence of the firm's owner in Malaysia who is "powerful politically".

The agency had also sought information from the Malaysian authorities through Letters Rogatory (LRs) but it did not get satisfactory response, after which the judicial requests were sent again. The reply to second LR is pending.

The Malaysian authorities should come forward and provide details regarding the above allegations of not cooperating. This case is already 8 years old and should be expedited, especially with two listed companies (Maxis and Astro) and several Malaysian persons being involved.

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