Malaysia

No local probe into Maxis-Aircel deal, minister says

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 — Malaysia will not investigate T. Ananda Krishnan’s alleged role in a criminal conspiracy involving telco giants Maxis Bhd and India’s Aircel Ltd, the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry said today.

Deputy minister Datuk Joseph Salang said the authorities would not conduct a probe into the matter as Malaysia has been “very transparent” in managing the local telecommunications industry.

“At the moment, it’s only an investigation (by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation),” he told reporters after opening the Communications and Connectivity Futures 2011 forum here.

Earlier this month, authorities in India filed a case against tycoon Ananda (picture) and his trusted executive Ralph Marshall, together with a former Indian minister and his brother, on charges of criminal conspiracy over a controversial deal involving Maxis and Aircel.

Former Indian telecommunications minister Dayadhini Maran and his media mogul brother, Kalainidhi, stand accused of allegedly forcing Aircel founder C. Sivasankaran to sell his stake in the company to Maxis Communications Bhd.

Maxis Communications is said to have bought a 74 per cent stake in Aircel for RM2.5 billion after Dayadhini repeatedly denied licences for the Indian telco’s Dishnet DSL.

India’s CBI has charged Dayadhini for accepting an illegal “quid pro quo” in the form of a share premium invested in his brother’s Sun Direct TV by South Asia Entertainment Holdings, a wholly-owned unit of Ananda’s Astro All Asia Networks Plc.

Maxis denies the allegations and insists the purchase of a 74 per cent stake in Aircel from Sivasankaran was done on a willing buyer, willing seller basis.

The telco giant said Sivasankaran only complained to the CBI after his claims were dismissed by international arbitrators earlier this year, more than five years after the deal was done on December 30, 2005.

Astro has also defended its purchase of 20 per cent of Sun TV as a legitimate transaction between two long-standing business partners who have had dealings since 1996.

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