The Supreme Court today dismissed pleas challenging the jurisdiction of the special 2G court to try Aircel-Maxis deal case in which ex-Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi and others are accused.
A bench of Justices J S Khehar and Arun Mishra also rejected one of the petitions of South Asia Entertainment Holding Ltd, an accused in the case, in which it had claimed that Aircel-Maxis case was not related to 2G spectrum scam.
During the hearing, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was appearing for the firm, argued that "procedural right" of the accused to approach the high court against the interlocutory order of the special 2G court must be kept in tact.
"I (firm) am not an accused in the 2G spectrum case. I have no problem in being tried by the special court but this is not a 2G scam case and my procedural right must be kept intact," he told the bench.
Sibal said the apex court had ruled that any appeal against an introlocutary order of the special court in 2G case would be heard only by the Supreme Court and the firm cannot be deprived of its procedural right to approach high court.
Countering the submissions, special public prosecutor Anand Grover said the Aircel-Maxis case should be dealt with by the special 2G court, which has been constituted by the apex court to deal exclusively with the cases arising out of the 2G scam.
The firm had earlier contended before the apex court that CBI's allegation that then Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran had pressurised Chennai-based telecom promoter C Sivasankaran, to sell the stake in Aircel to Malaysian firm Maxis Group in 2006, has nothing to do with the 2G scam.
The special 2G court had on September 17 dismissed the pleas moved by Maran brothers and others challenging its jurisdiction to try two cases filed by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate in relation to the deal, claiming that these matters did not directly or indirectly fall into the category of 2G spectrum cases.
The trial court had said that the Aircel-Maxis deal "fairly and squarely falls within the description of 2G scam", and held that it had the jurisdiction to try the matter.
Besides the Maran brothers, the CBI has named Malaysian business tycoon T Ananda Krishnan, Malaysian national Ralph Marshall and four firms-- Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd, Astro All Asia Networks Plc, UK, Maxis Communications Berhad, Malaysia, and M/s South Asia Entertainment Holdings Ltd, Malaysia-- as accused in the case.
They have been chargesheeted for the offences punishable under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
CBI had earlier alleged that Dayanidhi had "pressured" and "forced" Sivasankaran to sell his stakes in Aircel and two subsidiary firms to Malaysian firm Maxis Group in 2006.
The Malaysian firm was favoured by Dayanidhi and granted licence within six months after the take over of Aircel in December 2006, it had claimed.
Ex-Telecom Secretary J S Sarma, who had died, was also named in the CBI's charge sheet. His name was put in a column of the accused against whom trial cannot proceed.