CBI on Dayanidhi Maran: Supreme Court sees nexus in Aircel-Maxis deal
The Supreme Court said on Wednesday the CBI probe into the allegations in Aircel-Maxis deal involving former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and a Malaysian business tycoon "prima facie indicates a nexus".
A bench of justices G S Singhvi and K S Radhakrishnan, which perused two reports filed in a sealed cover by the CBI, said, "The allegations leveled and investigations prima facie indicates a nexus."
The CBI told the court that it has completed the domestic investigations into the deal but the overseas probe was being delayed due to the influence of the firm's owner in Malaysia who is "powerful politically". "We have completed the domestic probe and have to complete the investigation about the deal in Malaysia and Mauritius. Letters Rogatory have been sent to those countries.
"The gentleman in Malaysia who is involved in it is economically powerful and he is also powerful politically," the agency's counsel K K Venugopal submitted without taking any names. The submission was made by Venugopal, who was reading the relevant portions of CBI's fresh progress report on its investigation into the 2G spectrum scam.
Maran has been accused of "forcing" Chennai-based telecom promoter C Sivasankaran to sell the stake in Aircel to a Malaysian firm Maxis Group in 2006 owned by Kuala Lumpur-based business tycoon T Ananda Krishnan.
The agency submitted that overseas probe was important to track the money trail as the funds for the deal had come through Mauritius. "We have to go into the source of fund. Information is that the money came through Mauritius," the CBI counsel said adding that "we want to show the link on the source of money to show the quid-pro-quo involved in the deal."
The gentleman (promoter of Aircel) had been knocking at various doors but was left with no choice but to sell his shares to a Malaysian firm," the CBI had said. The NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, had earlier placed documents before the apex court on the alleged role of Maran in favouring Maxis group which had bought Aircel, owned by Siva Group, when he was Telecom Minister from 2004 to 2007. The CPIL had alleged that Maran during his tenure as Telecom Minister granted 14 licences to Aircel which invested Rs 599.01 crore in his family-owned business.
Later, he allegedly delayed the award of UAS licenses to Aircel which had been applying with the DoT since 2004 by raising irrelevant issues from time to time ignoring the request of its owner C Sivasankaran to resolve them, following which he sold the company to Maxis group.
Sivasankaran had appeared before the CBI and had recorded his statement.
The NGO claimed that after Aircel was taken over by the Maxis, Maran¿s family-owned business, Sun TV, received substantial investment from Maxis Group (Aircel) by taking 20 percent equity in Sun Direct. "Feeling harassed, Sivasankaran was forced into selling Aircel. In March 2006, Maxis bought 74 per cent stake in Aircel. The company got the FIPB approval in May 2006. As on March 3, 2006, a total of 14 applications from Aircel were pending in the DoT for award of licenses," the NGO had said.
- Asian Tribune -