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Maxis Communications Bhd caught in telco scandal in India

Maxis Communications Bhd (MCB), the largest shareholder of Bursa-listed Maxis Bhd has been charged by Indian police in a telecoms scandal.

MCB in a statement to Advertising + Marketing said it was charged under Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code of the Prevention of Corruption Act but has not been served with a copy of the charge sheet.

The accusation against MCB was raised when the Indian central bureau of investigation filed charges against a former Indian minister, his media mogul brother and Malaysian tycoon T Ananda Krishnan for pressurising Siva Ventures Limited (SVL) to sell Aircel Limited (Aircel) to MCB. Augustus Ralph Marshall, an MCB director has also been charged in the same scandal.

MCB in its statement to the press said that the transaction was completed in March 2006 in compliance with Indian laws. The telco vows “vigorously pursue all legal remedies available” to defend itself and Marshall.

“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.

Meanwhile Astro All Asia Networks Ltd  (AAANL) was also accused of paying off Sun Direct TV and South Asia FM illegally to purchase shares in the companies. Krishnan also holds a 42.39% equity stake in the Bursa-listed Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd.

In a statement to The Malay Mail Online, AAANL said  it has not been formally notified and also denied the allegations.

“AAANL is a separate company from MCB. There is no cross-shareholding between MCB and AAANL, and AAANL’s investments are totally unconnected with MCB’s investments,” said the company.

Advertising + Marketing has reached out to Astro All Asia Networks for a statement.

(Photo courtesy: AFP)

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