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Aircel-Maxis: ED to Appeal Against Special Court's Order to Acquit Maran Brothers

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate will appeal against the order of a special court which on Thursday discharged former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his industrialist brother Kalanithi Maran and others in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

Officials said the agency will appeal the order as it believes that its probe in the money laundering charges in was a “standalone” investigation and the “proceeds of crime” detected by it was independent of CBI’s FIR and enquiry.

The court of Special CBI Judge O P Saini had similarly dismissed the CBI case against the accused.

Saini said no prima facie case warranting framing of charges against any of the accused was made out on the basis of materials placed on record.

Dealing with the money laundering case, the court observed that since the accused were discharged in the case of scheduled offence registered by CBI, the Enforcement Directorate’s matter had become “groundless” and that nothing survived in it.

It is understood that the ED, in its appeal, will place before the higher court certain amendments made in the Prevention of Money laundering Act (PMLA) which allow for independent investigation by it in cases where the “predicate or scheduled offence”, as in this case of CBI, has been dismissed.

While discharging the accused in the ED’s case, the judge said, “In view of the fact that the accused persons stand discharged in the case of scheduled offence, I am satisfied that the instant case has become groundless and nothing survives in it. Accordingly, all accused are ordered to be discharged and stand discharged.

“In such a situation, there is no existence of proceeds of crime. When there is no existence of proceeds of crime, there is no question of same being laundered or projected as untainted. Accordingly, there is no ground to proceed against the accused persons,” it said in today’s order.

The ED had chargesheeted the Maran brothers, Kalanithi’s wife Kavery, Managing Director of South Asia FM Ltd (SAFL) K Shanmugam, SAFL and Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd (SDTPL) under provisions of the PMLA.