[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap]fter the Enforcement Directorate (ED) recently served it a notice for alleged violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), NDTV finds itself in the midst of another controversy. On Monday, the ED informed the 2G Special Court that the channel is under its radar in connection with the Aircel-Maxis scam.
We are probing where who all benefited from the Aircel-Maxis scam and where all the ill-gotten money flowed…
ED Prosecutor Naveen Matta
No one so far had any clue that the Aircel-Maxis deal could lead to the doorstep of Prannoy Roy. But ED’s Prosecutor Naveen Matta made the stunning disclosure about the ongoing probe and detailed the money trail from Maxis’ subsidiary Astro All Asia Networks to NDTV during the Aircel-Maxis scam between 2006 and 2007.
“We are probing where who all benefited from the Aircel-Maxis scam and where all the ill-gotten money flowed. We have already got a Letter Regatory sent to London on this particular case involving NDTV,” said Matta.
“We have found the money trail extending to other areas. We have detailed this in the chargesheet and chart of this illegal money flow is also attached,” added Matta.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap]stro All Asia Networks is a UK-based company, which is an accused like its Malaysia owners T Ananda Krishnan and Ralph Marshall in the CBI’s chargesheet in the Aircel-Maxis Scam. Former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his family members, and their family-run company Sun TV Group are among the main accused in the CBI and ED probe for receiving kickbacks from Maxis through Astro.
According to investigators, Astro, which pumped around Rs.800 crore ($117.89 million) into Sun TV Group Company, had in the same period been involved in an Rs 200 cr ($29.47 million) transaction with NDTV and its subsidiaries.
Prosecutor Matta also submitted bank document of “ill-gotten money” of Rs. 5 crore ($737,000) allegedly related to NDTV subsidiaries. He also said further documents are expected soon and will file in due course.
“I can’t tell you more. We will be back to Court with further proof after the probe,” said Matta, avoiding the journalists, while coming out from the court.
After the Marans, the Aircel Maxis scam has been haunting former Finance Minister P Chidambaram and family for the past four years. Now the NDTV is also dragged into the scam related probe. NDTV is a partner of Astro in setting up a TV channel in Indonesia and Malaysia called Astro-Avani.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap]fter 20 minutes of arguments, the Judge posted to February 1 the case for further hearing and study of documents submitted by ED. Arguing on the money trail leading to Maran family and their companies, the ED counsel submitted documents relating to a series of bank transactions of kickbacks received during the years 2006 and 2007. Most of the money trail to Sun TV was through Standard Chartered Bank and City Union Bank.
The ED’s chargesheet also detailed money trail and fund flow to Karti Chidambaram controlled company Advantage Strategic Consulting and its investments in Vasan Eye Care. The chargesheet also mentioned the FIPB violations committed by former Finance Minister Chidambaram in approving the Aircel-Maxis deal. It also mentioned that during the period in early 2006, when files were pending with Chidambaram, company linked to his son Karti, Advantage, had a financial transaction of Rs.26,00,444 ($38,000) with Sivasankaran’s Aircel Televenture, which received around Rs.4900 crore ($722 million) from Maxis.
1. The conversion rate used in this article is 1 USD = 67.86 Rupees.
2. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.