India seeks arrest warrant against Ananda Krishnan


NEW DELHI: India’s Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) has applied to a special CBI court for arrest warrants against Malaysian tycoon Ananda Krishnan and Astro official Ralph Marshall.

The CBI is also seeking warrants against Maxis Communication Berhad and Astro All Asia Network PLC.

All four are alleged to be involved in the Aircel-Maxis case involving India’s ex-Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanithi Maran.

Others against whom arrest warrants have been sought include Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd and Asia Entertainment Holding Ltd.

According to a report in The New Indian Express, the CBI told Special Court Judge O P Saini that the arrest warrants were sought as the summons had not been served on the accused.

The Enforcement Directorate had, on May 25, 2016, issued summons under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for examining Ananda.

The following day, according to the report, a summons was issued to examine Marshall.

Both the summons were sent to Malaysia through the Ministry of Home Affairs, the report said.

In August 2014, the CBI charged the Maran brothers, Ananda, Marshall and the four companies in the case.

The CBI had alleged that Dayanidhi had “pressured” and “forced” Chennai-based telecom promoter C Sivasankaran to sell his stakes in Aircel and two subsidiary companies to Malaysian firm Maxis Group in 2006.

Maxis had, in the past, denied the allegations, saying that all its dealings had been in full-compliance with the laws of India when it bought the stake in 2007.

In August last year, the CBI had told the same court that Malaysian authorities were not “cooperating” in the service of summons against the four.

According to a report in The Hindu, the CBI said the Indian High Commission and Ministry of Home Affairs had tried on three occasions to get the summons served on Ananda, Marshall and the two firms but that they had not received any positive response from Malaysian authorities.

Placing the records of the attempts made, senior public prosecutor KK Goel told Saini then that “We cannot force a foreign country.” The judge then issued fresh summons against the four.

It is alleged that Dayanidhi had obtained “illegal gratification” of Rs742.58 crore (RM451 million) and the money was “parked” in the firms of his brother Kalanithi.

The Aircel-Maxis case is related to a money laundering case that revolves around what has come to be known in India as the 2G spectrum scam in which politicians and government officials allegedly undercharged mobile phone companies for frequency allocation licences which they then used to create 2G spectrum subscriptions for cell phones.

As a result, the CBI had alleged, the Indian government lost USD4.6 billion.

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