SC threatens to cancel Aircel’s 2G spectrum


New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday threatened to cancel Aircel’s use of 2G spectrum if T. Ananda Krishnan, owner and controller of Maxis Group, continues to evade appearance before Indian courts.

Maxis Group, a Malaysian company, owns 74% stake in Aircel which was originally granted 2G spectrum licences in November 2006.

“If he is going to use an asset belonging to this country, he maybe anywhere in the world but must appear before us,” the court said in an oral observation.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar, justices N.V. Ramana and D.Y. Chandrachud proposed to pass an order restraining Aircel from earning any revenue using 2G spectrum licences if Maxis and Krishnan continue to evade summons.

In September 2016, a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Delhi had issued open bailable warrants against Krishnan, a Malaysian citizen, as an accused in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case.

Interpol is currently in the process of serving summons to Malaysian accused.

The case relates to allegations of irregularities by Dayanidhi Maran when he was communications minister between 2004 and 2007. Maran allegedly stalled approvals needed by telecom services provider Aircel Ltd and forced C. Sivasankaran, then owner of the telecom firm, to sell his company to Malaysia-based Maxis Communications.

In return, Krishnan’s group company invested around Rs629 crore in the Sun Group, owned by Maran’s brother Kalanithi. Once Sivasankaran sold his stake, it is alleged, Aircel almost immediately got all necessary approvals from the government.

The court was hearing a plea filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), a non-profit organization led by advocate Prashant Bhushan.

CPIL had sought to restrain Aircel from selling spectrum. Aircel has concluded two deals in 2016 with Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications for sharing spectrum.