Forced to sell stake to Maxis: ex-Aircel owner

Stepping up its ongoing investigation into the 2G spectrum allocation scam, the Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday recorded a statement by former Aircel owner C. Sivasankaran that could pave the way for filing a new First Information Report (FIR).

Highly placed sources in the CBI indicated that a meeting of CBI officials and Mr. Sivasankaran was held at an “undisclosed location'' in the capital but that later he came to the CBI headquarters where certain clarifications were sought and his statement was recorded.

The sources said the agency officials recorded the statement of Mr. Sivasankaran which pertained to the period when Dayanidhi Maran held the Telecom portfolio. The CBI registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) in January, on the directions of the Supreme Court, to look into the 2001-2007 period and ascertain if there were any violations of telecom policy; if ulterior motives were involved in grant of licences during that period; and if any criminality was involved.

“All these matters are being looked into by law enforcement agencies. They should be allowed to do their work without fear or favour,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told reporters when asked whether Mr. Maran's place in the Union Cabinet was now in jeopardy.

Though the CBI was officially tightlipped about what information was provided by the former Aircel chief, sources in the agency did not rule out the possibility of Mr. Sivasankaran's statement being converted into a formal complaint and forming the basis of registration of a regular case (RC).

It is learnt that Mr. Sivasankaran was also asked about the sequence of events during the period when he had applied for licences and details about his allegations. He alleged that he was forced by the then Telecom Minister Mr. Maran to sell his stake to Maxis, a Malaysian company. He alleged that his applications for licences were rejected in 2006 during Mr. Maran's tenure as Telecom Minister.

The sources said that the CBI was looking into “all aspects” while gathering evidence and talking to relevant persons relating to the 2001-2007 PE into the 2G spectrum allocation. Financial transactions between Maxis (via a group company, Astro) and Sun TV are being examined to see whether there might have been a “quid pro quo” in the handling of licences as some parties have alleged. It would be only after evaluating the evidence, and verifying the statements, that a decision would be taken to convert the PE into a full-fledged First Information Report (FIR), the sources pointed out.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 12:40:00 PM |

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