Monday, March 27, 2023

India issues arrest warrant for owner of Maxis & billionaire T. Ananda Krishnan

An Indian court issued arrest warrants for Malaysian billionaire T. Ananda Krishnan and Ralph Marshall, deputy chairman at Krishnan-controlled Astro All Asia Networks Plc, in connection with an investigation into alleged phone-license corruption.


Krishnan controls Malaysia-based mobile operator Maxis Berhad.

According to Bloomberg, a court in New Delhi ordered that the trial against former India Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanithi to be segregated from those based in Malaysia, Krishnan, Marshall, and two firms, Astro All Asia Network PLC and Maxis Communication Berhad stating that their appearance may take long time leading to a delay in proceedings.

“It is ordered that the trial of the appearing accused, that is, Dayanidhi Maran, Kalanithi Maran, M/s Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd and M/s South Asia Entertainment Holdings Ltd be segregated from the trial of accused Ralph Marshall, T Ananda Krishnan, M/s Astro All Asia Network Plc and M/s Maxis Communications Berhad. Miscellaneous file be opened relating these four accused, who are yet to be served. It is further ordered that an open and perpetual warrant of arrest be issued against Marshall and Krishnan,” the court said.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which sought the warrants, wants Krishnan and Marshall to face court proceedings following allegations that Maran improperly favored an operator.

Maxis Communications Bhd, which is part of Ananda’s business empire, had in 2006 bought a 74% stake in India’s Aircel Cellular Ltd.

It first invested US$280mil (RM896mil) for a 26% stake in Aircel, and then bought the remaining 74% for US$800mil in a joint venture with its Indian partner Sindya Securities and Investments Pvt Ltd.

About 5 years later, in 2011, the previous owner of Aircel, C. Sivasankaran, complained to the CBI that the former minister had pressured him to sell his controlling stake to Maxis.

But Maxis had said it was in full-compliance with the applicable laws of India when it bought the stake and denied the allegations.

Meanwhile in Malaysia, the Royal Malaysia Police said it cannot execute the warrants issued by India for the arrest of tycoon Tan Sri T. Ananda Krishnan and his lieutenant Augustus Ralph Marshall without an extradition order, The Malay Mail reports.

“India’s arrest warrant cannot be enforced in Malaysia. India needs to apply for extradition via mutual legal assistance through the [Attorney-General’s] Chambers,” the report quoted the Inspector-General of Police.

The Indian court will conduct a hearing into the case against Maran on Oct. 18. Investigators told the court they were seeking arrest warrants as the men couldn’t be served summons issued by the court.

“Serious allegations have been leveled against the two accused … both of whom are Malaysian nationals,” the judge said in the order. “They could not be served with the summons through the normal course” because “Malaysian authorities have categorically declined to effect the service. The only way left is to approach the Interpol, and for that issue of warrants is necessary.”

[Source 1]– Bloomberg

[Source 2]– Asian Correspondent

Kugan is the co-founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy

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