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SC’s 2G bench to hear Sun TV’s property attachment case

MUMBAI: Noting that only the apex court bench hearing the 2G cases can decide if the attachment of Sun TV’s properties by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) could be a part of the 2G investigation, Justice Dipak Misra today sent the case to the 2G bench, which is headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu.

The ED also told the Supreme Court today that it would not take any coercive action against Sun TV in the provisional property attachment case till 13 July, which has been fixed as the next date of hearing. The ED said that the proceeding for finalisation of order was underway.

Kalanithi Maran-promoted Sun TV Network had earlier this month moved the SC against ED’s decision to attach its properties worth Rs 742.58 crore (Rs 7.43 billion). Sun TV has contended that the case does not fall within the ambit of the 2G spectrum fraud case.

The Madras High Court had earlier dismissed petitions filed by Sun TV and Kal Communications challenging the attachment of their properties by the ED in Aircel–Maxis case.

ED had attached bank deposits and properties worth over Rs 742.58 crore (Rs 7.43 billion) in the name of Dayanidhi, his brother Kalanithi, and other family members under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Sun TV and Kal Communication had submitted that the ED order was purportedly premised on allegations made in the chargesheet filed by the CBI on 29 August last year in a special CBI court in Delhi.

In its order, the ED had noted that the attachment related to the illegal gratification amounting to Rs 742.58 crore (Rs 7.43 billion) received by Dayanidhi Maran. It also pointed out that the money was paid by the Mauritius-based companies to two companies, namely Sun Direct and South Asia FM.

The two companies are owned and controlled by Kalanithi Maran, brother of Dayanidhi Maran. The money had been utilised by the companies in their business or investments, it stated.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had recently denied security clearance to Sun Group’s FM radio and TV channels, citing criminal investigations against promoter Kalanithi Maran. Despite requests by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB), the MHA has stuck to its stance. Even the Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi has said that the ground on which security clearance has been denied is untenable.