The Madras High Court on Wednesday rejected the appeal of the Maran brothers against attachment of property by the enforcement directorate in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.
The court rejected the plea by Kalanithi Maran, media tycoon and promoter of Sun TV network and Kal Cables, to quash the ED order attaching properties worth Rs 742 crore owned by him and his brother, former union minister Dayanidhi Maran.
The Maran brothers face charges of illegal gratification and money laundering in a deal between telecom company Aircel and Malaysia-based Maxis Communication in 2006.
Dismissing Marans'plea, Justice M Sathyanarayanan said it was not maintainable as money laundering matters were under the consideration of the Supreme Court. He advised the petitioner to approach the Supreme Court for relief or explore alternate remedies available.
The counsel for Enforcement Directorate opposed any relief to the petitioners saying that the matter was being heard by the Supreme Court, where 2G spectrum case and related matters were being considered.
Senior counsels Kapil Sibal and P S Raman, appearing for Maran, submitted that the company was not an accused in the case pending with the Supreme Court. "We are not meeting an investigation," said Sibal and submitted that the high Court could hear the petition.
Raman argued that the properties attached were in now way connected to the case and that they were valued by the directorate at well below market prices.
The CBI which probed the deal, had filed a chargesheet against the Maran brothers, Malaysian business man T Ananthakrishnan and Maxis Communications, a company then promoted by Ananthakrishnan, Sun Direct TV and Astro All Asia Networks among others in 2011.
According to the CBI, Dayanidhi Maran, while he was the union telecom minister between 2004 and 2007, stalled approvals for spectrum licences to Aircel, forcing owner Sivasankaran to sell his company to Maxis Communication.
The Malaysian firm was favoured by Maran and granted licence within six months after the takeover of Aircel, the CBI said. Maxis invested 742 crore in Sun Group, owned by Kalanithi Maran, allegedly as quid pro quo.
Sun TV Network in its petition, said that it has no direct or indirect links with the companies alleged to have received and utilised the proceeds of crime.
The order is bad in law as it is a blanket order without even identifying and specifying the properties attached, which is mandatory under PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act), the petition said.
Among the properties attached include Kalanithi Maran's shares worth Rs 139 crore in Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd, free hold land and building owned by Sun Network TV Pvt Ltd worth Rs 266 crore, land and building owned by Kal Comm Pvt Ltd worth Rs 171.55 crore, fixed deposit held by Kalanithi Maran of Rs 100 crore, fixed deposit held by South Asia FM Ltd worth Rs 31.34 crore, fixed deposits held by Dayanidhi Maran and others for Rs 7.47 crore and fixed deposits and mutual funds held by Kaveri Kalanithi worth Rs 1.30 crore and Rs 1.78 crore each.