Marans charged in money laundering case


NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate on Friday filed chargesheet against former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi and wife Kavery Kalanithi along with three others accusing them of money laundering to the tune of Rs 742 crore in the Aircel-Maxis case.

In the chargesheet filed before a special 2G court in Delhi, ED claimed that “Dayanidhi Maran obtained the proceeds of crime of Rs 742.58 crore through the companies of his relatives by camouflaging them as capital contribution.”

The anti-money laundering agency began investigation against the accused under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) soon after a chargesheet was filed by the CBI in August 2014 against the Maran brothers and others. According to the ED chargesheet, Dayanidhi Maran “committed the offence of money laundering under Section 3 of PMLA…in receiving the said proceeds of crime in the companies owned and controlled by his brother, Kalanithi Maran and Kavery Kalanithi.”

The 140-page chargesheet was filed against four individuals and two firms in the court of special judge O P Saini. ED prosecutor Naveen Matta told the court that the agency will be submitting 1,294 documents along with the chargesheet, adding that all documents will be filed in the court by next week. The court has now fixed January 18 for considering the chargesheet.

The ED has said its probe is still in progress against some foreign nationals and companies involved in the case and may file a supplementary chargesheet later. The most controversial aspect of the probe, the FIPB approval where the role of some other high-profile ministers of the Manmohan Singh government is being looked into is still under investigation. The Supreme Court has been closely monitoring the 2G probe in the Aircel-Maxis case. In 2014, the apex court had intervened by stopping the repatriation of the investigation officer (IO) in the 2G case Rajeshwar Singh to his parent cadre in the UP police.

The two-judge SC bench headed by then Chief Justice of India H L Dattu had directed the central government to permanently absorb the IO in the ED “within three days of its order” after the revenue department had sought his repatriation. The bench insisted that “this court had trusted this man for conducting the trial (2G scam).”

Besides the Marans and Kavery, the ED named K Shanmugam, MD of South Asia FM Ltd, and two firms Sun Direct TV Pvt. Ltd (SDTPL) and SAFL as accused in the case. “The investigation revealed that proceeds of crime of Rs 742.58 crore was paid by the companies based in Mauritius for Dayanidhi Maran, in the two companies SDTPL and SAFL,” the ED claimed. The two companies are owned and controlled by Marans and money has been utilized by the companies in their business, it added.

“The SDTPL received proceeds of crime amounting to Rs 549 crore for Dayanidhi Maran in the guise of foreign investment…SAFL received proceeds of crime of Rs 193.55 crore for Dayanidhi Maran by projecting the same as capital contribution received by the company,” the chargesheet claimed.

Regarding Shanmugam’s role, ED said he was managing affairs of SAFL and “knowingly assisted in money laundering process.” The ED had earlier attached assets of Dayanidhi Maran, Kalanithi and Kavery and others equivalent to the amount of proceeds of crime. The ED has established that promoters of the SDTPL are Kalanithi and Kavery while the majority shareholders of SAFL are Sun TV Network Limited where the Maran family again holds majority stake.