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Aircel-Maxis case: 2G court seeks to speed trial against Marans

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MUMBAI: Is the hand of the law closing in on Sun TV promoter Kalanithi Maran and his brother, the former telecom minister, Dayanidhi Maran?

A special 2G court has decided that the trial against the two brothers be separated from Malaysian nationals T.Ananda Krishnan and Augustus Ralph Marshall and two firms Astro All Asia Network PLC and Maxis Communication Berhad, co-accused in the Aircel-Maxis case. The reason: the latter may not appear, which could delay the trial proceedings.

According to a PTI report, special judge O.P. Saini has ordered the issue of an open and perpetual arrest warrant against Krishnan and Marshall.

Krishnan is the driving force behind the leading Malaysian DTH operator Astro and was once known for his proximity to former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohammed.

Despite several efforts, summons have not been served on both, Krishnan and Marshall, as the Malaysian authorities have not been cooperating and effecting the service. This is despite the legal mutual assistance treaty between India and the south east Asian nation.

The CBI, which has filed the charge sheet against the eight accused for offences punishable under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, had pleaded with the court to issue arrest warrants against Krishnan and Marshall in August.

In the 27-page order, the court noted that the allegations against the accused were "serious" and the only way left was to approach Interpol for which issuance of warrant was necessary.

Said the court:

"It is ordered that the trial of the appearing accused, that is, Dayanidhi Maran, Kalanithi Maran, M/s Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd and M/s South Asia Entertainment Holdings Ltd be segregated from the trial of accused Ralph Marshall, T Ananda Krishnan, M/s Astro All Asia Network Plc and M/s Maxis Communications Berhad.

"Miscellaneous file be opened relating these four accused, who are yet to be served. It is further ordered that an open and perpetual warrant of arrest be issued against Marshall and Krishnan."

"Malaysian authorities have categorically declined to effect the service. In such a situation, the only way left is to approach the Interpol and for that issue of warrant is necessary...

"In such a situation when further issuance of summons would be a futile exercise, it is rightful for the prosecution to ask for warrant of arrest against the accused."

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