MUMBAI Aug 30 India's federal police have filed
charges against a former minister, his media mogul brother, and
a Malaysian tycoon over alleged corruption to help Malaysia's
Maxis group take control of an Indian mobile phone carrier eight
South Indian politician Dayanidhi Maran, who was India's
telecommunications minister between 2004 and 2007; his brother
billionaire Kalanithi Maran; Malaysia's second-richest man T.
Ananda Krishnan and his aide Augustus Ralph Marshall, are among
those named in the charge sheet filed in a New Delhi court on
Friday, a police spokeswoman said.
The case is separate from a massive scandal that a state
auditor said had lost the government about $29 billion during a
2008 telecoms permits sale process. Another former telecoms
minister and several company executives are among the accused in
an ongoing trial over that case.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India's top
crime-fighting agency, started investigating the Maran brothers
and Krishnan in 2011 after allegations that the telecoms
minister had forced the sale of mobile carrier Aircel, allowing
Krishnan's Maxis to acquire a controlling stake in 2006.
"The investigation revealed that the then (telecoms
minister) had allegedly abused (his) official position and
constricted the business environment of Chennai-based private
firm on frivolous grounds with an intent to force its exit from
telecom business and its sale to Malaysia-based company," the
CBI said in a statement on Friday.
Companies controlled by billionaire Kalanithi Maran's Sun
Group, which runs a media business including television channels
and satellite TV services, had received "illegal gratification"
totalling about 7.42 billion rupees ($123 million), the CBI
said. About 5.49 billion rupees of it was "in the garb of" the
premium paid for the purchase of a stake in a Sun Group company,
the agency said.
The charges against the Marans, Krishnan and his aide
include criminal conspiracy, the CBI said. Astro All Asia
Networks Plc, Maxis Communications Bhd, South Asia
Entertainment Holdings Ltd - all part of Ananda Krishnan's
business empire - and Sun Group's Sun Direct TV Pvt. Ltd have
also been named in the police charge sheet.
A spokeswoman for Maxis said she could not immediately
comment. A Sun Group spokesman also declined comment. Dayanidhi
Maran and Kalanithi Maran could not be immediately reached for a
Dayanidhi Maran has previously denied any wrongdoing. Maxis
had said in October 2011 that it was co-operating with the probe
and was confident that the allegations against it would prove to
be "unfounded and without basis."
($1 = 60.5050 Indian rupees)
(Additional reporting by Anuradha Raghu in Kuala Lumpur;
Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Simon Cameron-Moore)