2G scam | Maran questioned by CBI

2G scam | Maran questioned by CBI

New Delhi: Former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran was on Wednesday questioned by the CBI for over five hours on alleged irregularities in 2G spectrum allocation during his tenure.

Earlier this week, the agency had questioned his brother Kalanidhi Maran in connection with the preliminary enquiry in spectrum allocation during 2001-07 and allegations of pushing for Aircel takeover by Malaysia-based Maxis group, CBI sources said here.

During the questioning, Maran is understood to have denied all the allegations against him including his role in the Aircel takeover by Maxis, they said.

It has been alleged by former Aircel chief C Sivasankaran that Maran as the then telecom minister favoured Maxis-group in the takeover of his company and in return investments were made by the company through Astro network in Sun TV owned by Maran family.

The CBI in its recent status report to the Supreme Court had said that during Maran’s tenure there was “deliberate delay" to provide letter of intent to Sivasankaran.

The agency had said after Aircel was sold to Maxis investments were made by the Malaysian firm into the family business of Marans.

Former aides Maran had reportedly told CBI that the processing of the files of Sivasankaran was delayed allegedly at the direction of the minister, agency sources claimed.

Maran was not available for comments.

It was contended that senior Maxis executive Ralph Marshall had held meetings with the telecom minister in office between 2005 and 2006 on two to three occasions.

Sivasankaran had alleged that his applications for licences were rejected when Maran was the telecom minister in 2006, forcing him to sell his company to Maxis, whose owner is considered to be close to Maran and his brother Kalanidhi, who owns Sun TV.

Later, Maran is alleged to have granted 14 licences to Dishnet Wireless (Aircel) during his tenure as the telecom minister. The allegations have been refuted by Maran.

CBI is looking into financial transactions of Sun TV and Maxis. Besides, it is also looking into various aspects of takeover of Aircel by Maxis group, the sources said.

The probe agency has already registered a preliminary enquiry on issues in 2G spectrum allocation between 2001-07 and is actively looking into matter.