New Delhi, Feb 3: On Thursday, the Patiala House court in Delhi discharged the Maran brothers in the Aircel-Maxis case. The cases probed by both the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation fell flat following the order which the agencies say would be challenged in the High Court.
The court observed that entire case was based on misreading of official files. Legally admissible evidence was wholly lacking in the probe that was conducted. The entire case was based on contradictory statements, the court also went on to observe in a lengthy order.
In the eyes of the law, these grounds themselves are not enough to connect the money received in the company of Kalinithi Maran to Dayanidhi, the court held.
While dealing with the conspiracy theory as suggested by the investigators, the court held, "The three simple and ordinary facts that they are real brothers or that both are shareholders in some companies or that Dayanidhi Maran got a letter addressed to his brother Kalanithi Maran collected through his stenographer are by themselves not indicative of any conspiracy between the two."
Further the judge went on to state that, "They may indicate their close association but nothing beyond that. These may create a perception or a suspicion that the money received in the company of Kalanithi Maran was meant for Dayanidhi Maran, but perception or suspicion are not enough for criminal prosecution. The perception or suspicion is required to be investigated and supported by legally admissible evidence, which is wholly lacking in this case."
The money laundering case
The ED had alleged that Rs 742.58 crore was paid to Dayanidhi by two Mauritius-based companies through Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd and South Asia FM Ltd, both companies owned and controlled by Kalanithi.
The CBI in this probe had said that Kalanithi and Dayanidhi put pressure on Sivasankaran to sell the companies though he was resisting it and wanted to retain at least 26% of the shareholding. The judge observed that, "Sivasankaran alleges that it was strangulation of Dayanidhi Maran which led him to sell 100% of his business. The record in detail does not support this view. It were his own mistakes and deficiencies which led to the situation, which he complains about.
I have no hesitation in recording that his statement is based on speculations, surmises and conjectures and is totally contrary to the record." Dayanidhi had no role as far as alleged delay relating to grant "of licences for Punjab, Haryana, Kerala and Kolkata service area. It remained pending due to issues relating to impending FDI policy".
"The issue relating to delay is of no consequence as there is no legally admissible evidence connecting Dayanidhi Maran with this issue. There is no evidence to show that these three issues ever reached the Minister or the Minister was in any way connected with these," the court also held.
"I am satisfied that there were no issues which were the making of the two accused which constricted the business environment for Sivasankaran, resulting in the sale of company to Maxis. Furthermore, feeling constricted is highly elastic and subjective feeling. It is difficult to believe as to when one would feel constricted enough in a particular situation compelling him to take a certain course of action," the court said while discharging the Maran brothers among others.