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Enforcement Directorate to send fresh letter to Malaysia in Aircel-Maxis deal

NEW DELHI: With Malaysia continuing to stonewall CBI's probe into the Aircel-Maxis deal involving former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) will now send a fresh letter rogatory (LR) to Malaysia under its money laundering case in the same matter. 

A joint CBI-ED team has returned from Malaysia on Sunday after spending just one day in Kuala Lumpur and meeting the attorney general of Malaysia who has again raised about eight to ten new queries regarding the LRs submitted earlier both by the CBI and the ED. 

A CBI official having knowledge of the development told ET that Malaysia continues to block any information related to Maxis chairman T Ananda Krishnan. "More queries have been raised and CBI will now prepare answers to them," the official said. While the CBI's LR is being continuously ignored by Malaysia, the ED has now decided to send across a fresh LR with the hope that Malaysia will be under pressure to provide information under the same as both countries are members of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which places money laundering offences high on the list for signatory countries to share information. 

A new LR citing the FATF and the case lodged under Prevention of Money Laundering Act ( 
PMLA) would be sent by the ED to Malaysia early next month, an official said. CBI and ED officials handling the 2G probe also held a review meeting at the CBI headquarters on Monday, post the return of the joint CBI-ED team from Malaysia. 

ET had first reported on February 20 that a CBI team was headed for Malaysia in March to make a last-ditch attempt to get vital documents which could help it file a chargesheet in the Aircel-Maxis deal matter. 

CBI had told the Supreme Court last November that it may close the Aircel-Maxis case as Malaysian authorities were proving to be unhelpful and refusing to co-operate or part with any information regarding the Malaysiabased Maxis Communications. CBI had also told the court that though it has completed its enquiry in India and Mauritius, its investigation was being impeded by a Malaysian with financial and political muscles. CBI had requested the Malaysian authorities to help in getting a questionnaire answered by Krishnan which hence could be treated as his statement and wanted access to top Maxis executives. CBI is also looking for official documents from the Malaysian stock exchange, Bursa Malaysia, where Maxis is listed as a public company.