ED charge-sheet may jeopardise expansion plans of Sun TV and FM; group considering legal options

NEW DELHI: The security clearances for both the proposals for expansion of Sun TV and the group’s FM channels will get further jeopardised with the filing of a charge-sheet against the Maran brothers Kalanithi and Dayanidhi, Kalanithi Maran’s wife Kavery Maran and three others including two companies.

A spokesperson for the group told from Chennai that the company was examining legal recourse to ensue that the expansion plans are not jeopardised as they are linked to freedom of the press and have nothing to do with the alleged money-laundering cases.

This follows the corruption case lodged by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the Aircel-Maxis deal. The complaint alleged that Rs 742.58 crore was paid for former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran by two Mauritius-based companies through Sun Direct TV Pvt. Ltd and South Asia FM Ltd.

Special Judge O P Saini here has fixed 18 January as the date for consideration and taking cognisance of the complaint, asked the ED to place all relevant documents before it.

The two companies are owned and controlled by Kalanidhi, and the money was utilised by these companies for their business, the complaint alleged.

SAFL, SDTPL and SAFL managing director K Shanmugam has also been named as accused in the complaint.

Dayanidhi allegedly obtained the proceeds of crime (Rs 742.58 crore) by camouflaging it as capital contribution in SDTPL and SAFL and thus committed the offence of money laundering under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the complaint said.

SDTPL is owned and controlled by Kalanithi and Kaveri, being the chairman and the director respectively. It received the proceeds of crime, Rs 549.03 crore for Dayanidhi in the guise of foreign investment, which was consumed by it in its business, the complaint said.

SAFL received Rs 193.55 crore for Dayanidhi by projecting it as capital contribution received by the company. This amount was also consumed by SAFL in its business.

The ED had on 1 April last attached assets of Dayanidhi, Kalanidhi and Kaveri Kalanidhi and other accused equivalent to proceeds of crime of (Rs 742.58 crore).

Earlier, the CBI in August 2014 had chargesheeted Maran brothers, Malaysian business tycoon T Ananda Krishnan, Malaysian national Augustus Ralph Marshall and four companies -- Sun Direct TV, Maxis Communication Berhad, South Asia Entertainment Holding Ltd and Astro All Asia Network PLC -- in the case.

The CBI had earlier alleged in the court that Dayanidhi had "pressured" and "forced" Chennai-based telecom promoter C Sivasankaran to sell his stakes in Aircel and two subsidiary firms to Malaysian firm Maxis Group in 2006.

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