Kuala Lumpur, September 2 – Maxis Communications Bhd (MCB), the single largest shareholder of Bursa-listed Maxis Bhd, has denied allegations of constricting business environments in India, in order to coerce Siva Ventures Limited (SVL) to sell Aircel Limited (Aircel) to it. MCB said in a press statement today that it categorically denied all allegations of any wrong doing and would vigorously pursue all legal remedies available, in order to defend itself and the company’s director Ralph Marshall, given the apparent lack of regard to overwhelming contradictory evidence, and the commencement of prosecution before the investigations are complete. The statement was issued following MCB, which is controlled by tycoon Anandakrishnan (pic), having found out from Indian media reports that the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had filled a charge-sheet, in relation to the perceived irregularities in MCB’s acquisition of Aircel.

MCB was charged under Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The charge-sheet names nine parties involved in the lawsuit, including Marshall. The charge alleges that the former minister of Communications & Information Technology in India, Dayanidhi Maran, had abused his official position and constricted the business environment of Aircel between 2004 and 2005, with intent to coerce SVL to sell Aircel to MCB. MCB added that the transaction was completed on March 21, 2006, in compliance with Indian laws, with SVL being paid in full purchase price, after receipt of the requisite approvals from various parties.

“MCB categorically denies and rejects any allegation of wrongdoing in the matter. MCB firmly believes that the allegations are totally unfounded and the charge-sheet has been filed without basis,” said the company. The charge added that Astro All Asia Networks Plc (AAAN) had paid illegal gratifications to Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd and South Asia FM Limited, in way of purchase of shares in the two companies at a premium. In response to the news, Bursa-listed Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd, in which Anandakrishnan also holds a 42.39% equity stake, clarified that AAAN is a “separate and distinct legal entity and is not a member of Astro Malaysia Holdings”.

– The Edge Malaysia

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