Former aides of the former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran have reportedly told the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) the processing of the files of former Aircel Chief owner C. Sivasankaran was delayed allegedly at the directions of the Minister.
Sanjay Murthy, the then personal secretary to Maran, in his statement has reportedly told the CBI that “there was delay in grant of approval” of licenses to Dishnet DSL Limited, a company of C. Sivasankaran.
Sources in the agency claimed on Wednesday that Mr. Murthy further told the CBI “that the directions conveyed by me for putting of files etc and recording the orders of the Minister was done as per the directions of Mr. Dayanidhi Maran.”
He had told the agency sleuths that as the personal secretary to the Minister he was “not expected to examine the merits of the case as it was the responsibility of the department to examine.”
Mr. Murthy is also said to have told the CBI that Mr. Maran had met Ralph Marshall, CEO of Astro which invested in Sun TV and also a Board member of Maxis, in office between 2005 and 06, the sources said.
The then OSD to Mr. Maran V.A.K. Nambiar in his statement is also understood to have corroborated about the meeting saying that Mr. Marshall along with three to four persons had come to meet Mr. Maran in Electronic Niketan in 2005-06 on two to three occasions and stayed at a luxury hotel here, sources claimed.
Mr. Sivasankaran alleged his applications for licences were rejected when Mr. Maran was the Telecom Minister in 2006, forcing him to sell his company to Maxis, whose owner is considered to be close to Mr. Maran and his brother Kalanidhi, who owns Sun TV.
Later, Mr. Maran is alleged to have granted 14 licences to Dishnet Wireless (Aircel) during his tenure as the Telecom Minister.
The CBI is looking into investments of Maxis in Sun TV which are alleged to have been done with Astro group. Besides, it is also looking into various aspects of takeover of the Aircel by the Maxis group, the sources said.
The probe agency has already registered a preliminary inquiry on issues in the 2G spectrum allocation between 2001-2007 and is actively looking into the matter.
The preliminary inquiry was registered against “unknown persons” following a Supreme Court directive to detect any alleged anomaly in ‘first-come-first-served' during the spectrum allocation between 2001-07.
Maxis has 74 per cent stake in the Aircel which has presence in 23 telecom circles — Chennai, Tamil Nadu, Assam, North East, Orissa, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Kolkata, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi, U.P. (West), U.P. (East), Maharashtra and Goa, Mumbai, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat and Rajasthan.