Former Union telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran said the Enforcement Directorate (ED)’s action to attach assets held by him and his brother Kalanithi Maran was due to “political compulsions” and “to please someone”. Maran said he would fight it legally.
On Wednesday, ED had attached assets worth Rs 742 crore of the Maran brothers in connection with the agency’s money laundering probe in the Aircel-Maxis deal. ED had registered a case against the Marans under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
While officials at the Sun Group, owned by Kalanidhi Maran, did not respond to the calls, Dayanidhi Maran said in a statement these investments came when he was not a Union minister. He said ‘political vendetta’ was behind ED’s action and alleged the agency was “acting as a puppet in the hands of someone”.
Foreign investment in an Indian company cannot be done without the approval of the government. “The Aircel-Maxis deal was completely above board, and even in arbitration at Singapore, the deal was declared legal,” he said.
“The ED set aside legal provisions while attaching a long list of properties that were purchased several years before (the Aircel-Maxis deal). This shows someone is directing it from behind,” he added.
Astro All Asia Network – the UK-based subsidiary of Maxis – started investing in Kalanidhi Maran-owned Sun Direct and South Asia FM towards the end of 2007. By that time, Dayanidhi Maran said he had resigned as Union minister adding it was ‘evident’ that he had no ownership in or connections to Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd or South Asian FM Ltd. The professional investments in these have been ‘distracted’, Maran noted.