2G case | CBI to register case against Maran by Nov

2G case | CBI to register case against Maran by Nov

New Delhi: Investigators probing Dayanidhi Maran’s alleged involvement in the Aircel-Maxis deal said they will register a case against him by November.

The investigation is part of the larger one into the so-called 2G scam.

The Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday said it is set to register a case against the former telecom minister.

It will also register a preliminary inquiry against Maran over the operation of a private telephone exchange in his house, allegedly to further the business interests of his brother Kalanithi Maran’s Sun TV Network Ltd.

“We have finished investigation and (are) set to register a case against Maran," a CBI official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The CBI official said there was no evidence against Arun Shourie, a former telecom minister in the rival National Democratic Alliance government (2003-2004), and there will be no case against Pramod Mahajan, another former minister in the NDA government (2001-2003), as he has died.

The official said that while there was no proof Maran forced C. Sivasankaran to sell Aircel Ltd to the Malaysia-based Maxis Group, there was evidence he favoured the latter by hastily granting telecom licences.

CBI questioned Maran earlier this month. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader resigned from the Union cabinet in July after allegations of impropriety and corruption emerged in a CBI status report to the Supreme Court. CBI has questioned Sivasankaran as well.

Maran has in the past denied both allegations. He was not available for comment.

Criminal breach of trust

Meanwhile, CBI sought to add fresh charges against former telecom minister A. Raja, his former private secretary R.K. Chandolia and former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura for their alleged roles in the 2G spectrum case.

On Monday, special public prosecutor Uday U. Lalit pushed for framing an additional charge against them under section 409 of the Indian Penal Code (criminal breach of trust by a public servant), which prescribes a life term (14 years), or 10 years in prison and a fine if convicted.

The prosecution also asked the court to impose a charge of criminal conspiracy (section 120) for the rest of the 14 accused, including Swan Telecom, Reliance Telecom and Unitech Wireless Ltd, for allowing Raja, Behura and Chandolia to breach public trust.

CBI has charged all the accused with criminal conspiracy, which prescribes six months to two years in prison.

On Monday, lawyer Iqbal Chagla argued on behalf of the three Reliance officials—Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara—who are charged in the case.

Chagla used the opinion of the ministry of law and justice on the definition of “associate" companies to contend that Reliance and Swan Telecom (now Etisalat DB Teleservices Pvt. Ltd) did not share an “associate" relationship.

CBI’s charge is that Swan was an associate of Reliance at the time the former applied for telecom licences and spectrum.

The prosecution maintained that CBI did not rely on the law ministry’s opinion and, therefore, the court must ignore it. The court has allowed the opinion to become a part of the case docket, thereby acknowledging its validity.

Chidambaram as witness

Raja on Monday asked that home minister P. Chidambaram be examined as a witness in the 2G case. His lawyer told judge O.P. Saini that CBI should have recorded the former finance minister’s statement on the cabinet meeting in which he had clarified the issue of dilution of shares.

Raja’s counsel said Chidambaram should be asked whether he gave the advice on the issue of dilution of shares in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.


PTI contributed to this story.