Stepping up the momentum of its probe into the Aircel deal, the Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday questioned the former Telecom Minister, Dayanidhi Maran.
Highly placed CBI sources said he was asked about the Aircel–Maxis deal and allegations levelled against him by the former Aircel promoter, C. Sivasankaran. They said Mr. Dayanidhi Maran's brother, Kalanithi Maran, who heads the Sun television network, was quizzed on Monday. They refused to divulge where the Marans were questioned or whether a questionnaire was sent to them. Their questioning came soon after the grilling of Ralph Marshall, a top Director in the Malaysia-based telecom firm Maxis.
The sources said Mr. Marshall, who enjoyed the number two position in Maxis, was questioned on the Aircel deal and his alleged links with the Marans. Also on focus were the alleged connections of the Marans with the Malaysian firm even before it took over Aircel.
After registering a preliminary enquiry (PE), the CBI is probing the allegation that Mr. Dayanidhi Maran, as Telecom Minister, had deliberately delayed giving licences to Aircel and pressured Mr. Sivasankaran to sell the firm to the Maxis group, owned by T. Ananda Krishnan, in March 2006. The agency is yet to convert the PE into a full-fledged Regular Case (RC).
Last week, the CBI told the Supreme Court that it had not given a clean chit to Mr. Dayanidhi Maran in the Aircel deal.