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IDF Exclusive : Freeze Aircel spectrum, stop deal with Airtel, RCom: Bhushan
Activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan on Friday demanded immediate freezing of spectrum held by Aircel, alleging that its Malaysian parent Maxis will "abscond" if the proposed deals with Airtel and RCom are allowed to go through.

Aircel has entered into an agreement with Bharti Airtel to sell its 4G spectrum in eight circles for Rs 3,500 crore. Besides, the company and RCom are in talks to merge their mobile business into a combined entity with 19.3 per cent of total spectrum allocated to the industry - the highest in the country by an entity.

In a letter to the CBI and Enforcement Directorate, Bhushan said, "It is strange and disturbing that while properties of former telecom minister and Sun Direct TV are being attached, but the assets of Aircel/Maxis in India have not been attached.

"This has happened despite the fact that Maxis and its owner have evaded summons issued by the Special Court and have not appeared before the Court."

He asked both the agencies to freeze spectrum of Aircel.

When contacted, Bharti Airtel declined to comment, while queries sent to Aircel RCom remained unanswered.

In the letter, Bhushan said, "If the deal between Aircel and Bharti Airtel and the deal between Aircel and Reliance Communications (RCom) is allowed to go through, then that would allow Maxis to escape the arm of law and abscond with thousands of crores of money. Spectrum is the real asset held by Aircel and the same needs to be attached immediately."

"When action has been taken against former minister Dayanidhi Maran, another accused in the case, why no action is taken against Ananda Krishnan and Maxis," he said.

The CBI has filed a detailed chargesheet against Aircel/Maxis, its Malaysian owner Ananda Krishnan and ED has also filed cases against them. ED has also attached properties of the former telecom minister, the letter said.

Malaysia-based Maxis Communications holds 74 per cent equity stake in Aircel while the rest 26 per cent is with Sindya Securities and Investments Ltd.

In August 2014, CBI filed chargesheet in the 2G special court alleging that Dayanidhi Maran had entered into a criminal conspiracy with T Ananda Krishnan, and coerced the original promoter of Aircel to sell his shares to Ananda Krishnan in lieu of investments by Maxis Group into Sun Direct TV (owned by Maran brothers).

The chargesheet has been filed against Dayanidhi Maran, Kalanidhi Maran, T Ananda Krishnan, Ralph Marshall (executive of the Maxis Group), and four firms - Maxis Communication Berhad, Astro All Asia Network PLC, Sun Direct TV Pvt. Ltd., South Asia Entertainment Holdings, Mauritius.

Bhushan cited various occasions when courts issued summons to Krishnan, Ralph Marshall, Maxis Communications Berhad, and Astro All Asia Network PLC but they did not comply with the court orders.
"For a telecom operating company, spectrum is the main asset. Maxis should not be allowed to sell spectrum and equity unless all the accused - Ananda Krishnan, and the firm Maxis comply with summons issued by the 2G special court," Bhushan said.

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