CBI likely to take a call on Maran in 20 days

A day after recording the statement of the former Aircel owner, C. Sivasankaran, in connection with the ongoing probe into the 2G spectrum allocation during 2001-2007, the Central Bureau of Investigation indicated on Tuesday that it would take a final call in about 20 days on whether a case has been made out against Union Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran who held the Telecom portfolio from May 2004 to May 2007.

Highly placed CBI sources said Mr. Sivasankaran had submitted a list of witnesses and documents to CBI officials in support of his allegations that mainly relate to the period when Mr. Maran was Union Telecom Minister. “We have to examine all the documents and see if this can be converted into a full fledged case,'' the sources explained.

As Mr. Maran is a Union Minister, the CBI would need to take permission from the Central government under Section 6 (A) of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act before conducting investigation against him for alleged offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

The sources said the CBI would also take into account Mr. Maran's statements denying allegations of “arm twisting'' Aircel. The sources said it would take about three weeks for the process of verification to be completed and documents to be scrutinised.

The CBI had registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) in January for the 2001-2007 period, on the directions of the Supreme Court, to ascertain if there were any violations of the telecom policy or ulterior motives involved in the grant of licences during that period.

As part of the ongoing probe, Mr.Sivasankaran's detailed statement was recorded by the CBI officials at an “undisclosed location'' in New Delhi on Monday.

The sources said Mr. Sivasankaran has levelled “serious charges'' against Mr. Maran. The former Aircel owner is likely to be made a key witness in the PE and his statement could pave the way for the registration of a regular case pertaining to Mr. Maran's tenure as Telecom Minister.

The sources said the Aircel-Maxis deal would be examined by the CBI. Maxis Communications Berhad, a leading Malaysian telecom company that began operations in 1995, acquired a 74 per cent stake in Aircel on March 21, 2006. Sindya Securities and Investments Private Ltd. holds the remaining 26 per cent equity. The former owner of Aircel alleged that he was forced by the then Telecom Minister Mr. Maran to sell his stake to Maxis.

The Justice Shivraj V. Patil Committee report is also being looked into by the CBI. Submitted to the Telecom Ministry earlier this year, the report has found fault with the functioning of Mr. Maran during his tenure as Communications and IT Minister between May 2004 and May 2007.

As reported earlier in The Hindu, the Shivraj Patil committee report had criticised Mr. Maran for not consulting the Telecom Commission, the Telecom Department's decision-making body, and ignoring the Group of Ministers (GoM) while taking crucial policy decisions.

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 9:42:43 PM |

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