The proposed merger between Reliance Communications and Aircel has overcome one more hurdle with a Delhi court refusing to agree to a CBI plea seeking to declare T Ananda Krishnan and Augustus Ralph Marshall as absconders in the Aircel-Maxis case.

The special 2G court had earlier quashed all charges against Krishnan of Maxis Group. Maxis owns majority shares in Aircel and any legal action against Krishnan could have derailed the merger process with RCom.

The court has adjourned sine die the case against the two accused Malaysian nationals. CBI had earlier told the court that more steps were needed to be taken to secure the presence of Krishnan and Marshall, who were charge-sheeted along with former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanithi, in the case.

The CBI had alleged that Dayanidhi Maran, the then Minister of Communications and Information Technology in abuse of his official position, deliberately delayed grant of licences in 7 telecom circles and other approvals on various issues pending before Department of Telecommunications related to Aircel, when it was owned by Chennai-based businessman C Sivasankaran.

The delays were on frivolous grounds with an intent to force its exit from the telecom business by constricting the business environment.

The sale of these companies held by Sivasankaran to Maxis, a Malaysian company, was with the intervention of Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanithi Maran.

It was alleged that for these favours and as a quid pro quo, an illegal gratification was paid by Astro by acquiring shares to Sun Direct at a premium of Rs 69.57 per share for Rs 549 crore.

The special court has already discharged the Marans. – The Hindu Business Line