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CBI says examining documents, witnesses

CBI says examining documents, witnesses

New Delhi: C. Sivasankaran, the former promoter of Aircel Ltd, has provided names of witnesses and documents against former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said on Tuesday.

Sivasankaran told the investigators on Monday that Maran had forced him to sell his stake in Aircel to Malaysia-based Maxis Group. Maran has denied the charge. CBI said the allegations have to be probed in detail.

The accusations against Maran, now India’s textile minister, have emerged amid CBI’s inquiry into suspected irregularities in the allocation of second-generation (2G) telecom spectrum.

The joint parliamentary committee (JPC), which is also probing the spectrum scam involving Maran’s party colleague and former telecom minister A. Raja, questioned CBI director A.P. Singh about the agency’s investigations, said a government official familiar with the development. This person said the JPC was likely to question 85 witnesses, including officials from the Prime Minister’s Office.

The JPC will ask representatives of 22 beneficiaries?of?the migration package of 1999, 11 firms that got licences in 2008 and four companies, beneficiaries of dual technology to appear before it.

“The panel wants to reduce the presumptive loss from (the) Comptroller and Auditor General of India finding of 1.76 trillion loss. It will try to uncover irregularities during (the previous) BJP regime," the official said.

Sivasankaran “has made serious allegations and gave us names of people who were negotiating the deal. He also gave names of some witnesses and documents", a high-ranking CBI official said on condition of anonymity.

“But these names and documents needed to be verified and corroborated before Maran is approached for questioning," the official said, ruling out a time frame for the process.

Another CBI official said the agency will also examine why Sivasankaran “took so long to register a complaint with us."

The official said the agency has sent a “clarification" to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on media reports about Maran and Sivasankaran.

CBI, which has registered a preliminary inquiry over 2G spectrum allocation between 2001 and 2008, is examining the alleged quid pro quo between the Maxis Group and Sun TV Network Ltd, owned by Maran’s brother Kalanithi Maran. Dayanidhi Maran allegedly forced Sivasankaran to sell the stake to Maxis before awarding 14 telecom licences to Aircel. Maxis invested around 600 crore in Sun TV.


Appu Esthose Suresh and PTI contributed to this story.

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