The Supreme Court on Friday made it clear that Malaysian billionaire and Maxis Group owner, T Ananda Krishnan, against whom summons were issued in Aircel-Maxis case, must appear before a trial court failing which 50% of Aircel’s shares would be auctioned. The apex court also said that it would not tolerate ‘absconders’ evading India’s judicial process.
Maxis has major stakes in Aircel, India’s leading providers of telecom services, and an adverse court order could jeopardise a proposed merger between the company and Reliance Communication. Fifty percent shares of Aircel, valued at Rs 20,000 crore, will be transferred to Reliance Communication.
“He (Ananda Krishnan) doesn’t care for the law or the Supreme Court of this country, and yet you people stand up to defend him? One must subject himself to the process of law. We will not allow merger of Reliance Communication wireless with Aircel, unless Rs 20,000 crore debt of nationalised banks is liquidated. We will adopt any means to ensure his presence,” Chief Justice JS Khehar’s bench told senior advocate AM Singhvi, appearing for Aircel.
Singhvi told the court it cannot use Aircel to procure Krishnan’s presence. According to him the merger between the two companies was only through transfer of shares and there is no outflow of money or sale.
On January 6, the top court had asked the Centre to issue advertisements in two newspapers in Malaysia requiring Ananda Krishnan’s presence in the court. The government said the needful had been done. However, there was no response to the ads.
The CJI refused to accept Aircel’s plea that Ananda Krishnan was not under its control. It perused the share holdings and pointed out the he controlled the company.
In an apparent reference to industrialist Vijay Mallya, the CJI also observed “people who are defaulters are running away from law. We will not allow that to happen. He has to submit himself to the jurisdiction of this court.”
It asked the company to submit more documents in support of their arguments till next Friday.
In a related development, the special public prosecutor in the 2G cases, Anand Grover requested the top court to put on hold the trial court order that released the properties of Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanithi Maran after discharging them in the corruption case. He also said the special court should be directed to accept bail bonds from Maran brothers even though they have been discharged from the case.