Aircel is a telecom company providing mobile phone wireless services using 2G and 3G spectrum. Before 2006 it was wholly owned by a Tamil Nadu-based capitalist, Sivasankaran, but by January 2006 it came to be owned by a Malaysia-born citizen, T. Anantha Krishnan, popularly called TAK. He is the son of a Sri Lankan Tamil immigrant who arrived as indentured plantation worker.
T. Anantha Krishnan’s second wife is Latchoumie (Lakshmi?) Marie Helene (LMH), born to a white French father who belongs to the Le Chateau Briand family, and Tamil mother. She is popularly known as Mme ‘TAK’.
Mr. TAK made his fortune first in gambling casinos and laundering LTTE drug and extortion loot garnered by the terrorist organization treasurer K. Padmanabhan (now in Sri Lanka custody), and then branched into construction, etc., to become a powerful and influential person in Malaysia. He helped Quatrrocchi grease the system in that country and escape the law because of the CBI’s deliberately chosen counsel.
Mme. TAK, according to my usually reliable sources in Paris, is the owner of a very big art gallery La Fantaisie which can be described as the Christie’s in France. Carla Bruni, the Italian wife of former French President Sarkozy, is a partner in this venture for two years.
Mrs. TAK is also the owner of a sophisticated music recording house in Paris. Carla, who is also a pop singer, uses Mrs. TAK’s studios for registration and issue of her albums.
Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul, and her sisters are frequent visitors. Whenever Rahul goes to France, he stays with Mrs. TAK. He had been there a-month-and-half back.
Mrs. TAK is the also owner of vine yards in northern Colombia with joint ownership with the Colombian rich families Bettancourt and Katalli. Rahul Gandhi’s former live-in friend Veronique is connected to the Kattalli cartel.
Mrs. TAK is also one of the major shareholders in the French aeronautical company, Dassault, whose fighter aircraft Rafaele, though rejected worldwide, was bought by India’s Defence Ministry for a hefty 20 per cent bribe.
But the TAKs are smart. This time in the French election they backed Hollande, who won the Presidency.
It is in this context we have to see the Aircel-Maxis deal, since it impinges on India’s national security as did Swan-Etisalat and Unitech-Telenor deals. Telecom towers and equipment can do cyber warfare, snoop on closed door conversations and read email.
The Indian owner of Aircel, Sivasankaran, is a financial buccaneer, working always on the edge. In 2005, after getting spectrum licence, and short of funds, he put it out that he was looking for foreign direct investment (FDI). Maxis approached him incognito through the Standard Chartered Bank. It is now alleged in an FIR of the CBI that at that stage the then telecom minister, Dayanidhi Maran, entered the scene. According to Justice Shivraj Patil Report (available on the DoT website), Maran misused his office to arm-twist Sivasankaran to sell all his shares in Aircel to Maxis in January 2006. Whether that was a drama by Maran and Sivasankaran or real, only the Supreme Court inquiry will reveal. Sivasankaran, however, agreed to sell.
But there was a problem: FDI rules require an Indian partner to hold at least 26 per cent of the equity for the deal to be okayed by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). Three months earlier to January 2006, it was at least 51 per cent, i.e., an Indian must be majority partner. Maran got that changed to just 26 per cent and the Indian partner to be in minority. But Maxis owner TAK would have none of that. He wanted Aircel to be a wholly-owned company of his. That was against FDI rules. So, Maran was in a fix. His brother and owner of Sun TV, Kalanidhi, was promised Rs 800-crore bounty for his media venture by TAK, and he was salivating furiously.
Enter P. Chidambaran (PC), the Dawood Ibrahim of Indian finance and Jesus Christ in Lok Sabha. He was then as finance minister, which meant the ex-officio chairman of the FIPB. In January 2008, PC had advised A. Raja on “share dilution” which landed the former telecom minister in Tihar. Similarly, Chidambaram advised Maran to devise a trick: form a joint venture with a young ambitious entrepreneur, all expenses paid. Thus they found Sunita Reddy part owner of Apollo Hospital.
Thus Deccan Ventures came into being, but it was joint only in name. By using a financial derivative, Maxis owned all of it. With the money thus put in, Deccan purchased 26 per cent of Aircel. TAK declared proudly to the Malaysian Stock Exchange and to his company shareholders’ meeting that he had bought 99.3 per cent of Aircel equity (0.7 per cent still left with Sivasankaran) and thus de jure Aircel became a wholly owned company of Maxis.
TAK filed for permission with FIPB as a 74 per cent owner and got it cleared in March 2006. But there was a catch. PC did not like it that Maran had decamped with the bribe loot. So, the March 2006 FIPB clearance was not made in the name of Global Communications, a wholly-owned company of Maxis, but in the name of some US company. Then PC sat on the file while TAK sweated with the thought of being so near yet so far.
Enter son Karthi, fixer, ambulance chaser, money launderer, small arms dealer, etc. Through a maze of crossholdings, he acquires at least 5 per cent of the Aircel shares before father PC reconvenes the FIPB in October 2006, deletes the name of the US company, and puts the TAK company as the 74 per cent owner of Aircel equity. Karthi’s wife, Dr. Srinidhi, starts working as a consulting doctor with Apollo Hospital. All are happy now.
So, what is the criminal offence? The biggest is the bogus FIPB clearance. Chidambaram has committed offence of criminal misconduct under Section 13(1)(d)(iii) of the Prevention of Corruption Act which has a provision of seven-year jail term. Ditto with Maran, Karthi, and maybe Sivasankaran too under sub-Section (ii), read with IPC 120A&B. The Supreme Court has been apprised by me on May 10, and the matter will be heard after the vacations on July 17. If Prime Minister Manmohan Singh does not want to testify in court, he must get rid of PC from the Cabinet. This is also what all Congress leaders except one want.
In the meantime, the Indonesian Police has issued an arrest warrant against Maxis CEO Roy Marshall for fraud, cheating, and money laundering in another connected company Astro. Its money trail leads to a favorite English news TV channel. Marshall is also a Sri Lankan Tamil, and has played host to PC’s wife Nalini when the deal was being brokered.
The corruption pimple under UPA rule has defiled Bharat Mata but now it seems about to burst. Cure lies in operating Vishkanya poison from our body politic.
Posted on : 2012-05-17