2G scam: Maran comes under SC scanner

The CBI on Wednesday implicated former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran in the 2G scam.

New Delhi: Union Textiles Minister
Dayanidhi Maran has come under the Supreme Court`s scanner in
the 2G spectrum allocation scam with the CBI raking up his
role in "forcing" a Chennai-based telecom promoter to sell his
stakes in Aircel to a Malaysian firm in 2006.

The agency, which placed its 71-page fresh status
report about the 2G scam, said that during 2004-07 when Maran
was telecom minister, the promoter C Sivasankaran, was forced
to sell the stake in Aircel to a Malaysian firm Maxis Group.

Senior Advocate KK Venugopal, who read the status
report before a bench of justice GS Singhvi and A K Ganguly,
did not take Maran`s name but stated that the Chennai
businessman was not granted UAS license for two years.

It said that the Malaysian firm was favoured by Maran
and was granted license within six months after taking over
the Aircel in December 2006. Maran was the telecom minister
between February 2004 and May 2007.

"The gentleman (promoter of Aircel) had been knocking
at various doors but was left with no choice but to sell his
shares to a Malaysian form," said Venugopal, representing
CBI, while reading out from the status report that was filed
in a sealed cover.

Earlier, an NGO, Centre for Public Interest
Litigation, had placed documents before the apex court showing
the alleged role of Maran in favouring Maxis group of Malaysia
which had bought Chennai-based telecom company, Aircel, owned
by Siva Group, when he was telecom minister from 2004 to 2007.

The CPIL had alleged Maran, who is now Union Textiles
Minister, had granted 14
licenses to Aircel which invested Rs 599.01 crore in his
family-owned business.

Later, he allegedly delayed the award of UAS licenses
to Aircel which had been applying with the DoT since 2004
by raising irrelevant issues from time to time ignoring the
request of its owner C Sivasankaran to resolve them, following
which he sold the company to Maxis group owned by Malaysian
business tycoon T Ananda Krishnan.

Sivasankaran had appeared before the CBI last month
and had recorded his statement.

The NGO claimed that after Aircel was taken over by
the Maxis, Maran’s family-owned business, Sun TV, received
substantial investment from Maxis Group (Aircel) by taking 20
percent equity in Sun Direct.

"Feeling harassed, Sivasankaran was forced into
selling Aircel. In March 2006, Maxis bought 74 per cent stake
in Aircel. The company got the FIPB approval in May 2006. As
on March 3, 2006, a total of 14 applications from Aircel were
pending in the DoT for award of licenses," the NGO had said.

During the hearing, Venugopal told the court that the
CBI is to complete its probe into the money trail, involving
the 2G spectrum allocation scam, by August 31.

He also added that the probe into all the
irregularities in the spectrum allocation during 2001-08 will
be completed within 3 months by September 30.

The bench slated July 11 as the next date of hearing.

PTI

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