Well-connected Maran has 323 lines

Well-connected Maran has 323 lines

Telecom House at home

This has only compounded the problems of the DMK MP. Closing in on him, the investigating agency is all set to register an FIR against him in a more serious case – as part of the 2G spectrum scam.

If this happens, Maran will be the third DMK leader to be proceeded against, with two others– A Raja, who succeeded Maran as telecom minister, and MP Kanimozhi – already in jail in the 2G case.

The CBI is investigating if Maran – who was telecom minister from 2004 to 2007, arm-twisted the promoter of cellular service provider Aircel to sell out to Malaysian telecom company Maxis. According to CBI sources, C Sivasankaran, owner of Aircel, repeatedly applied to get mobile service licence from 2004 onwards.

Finally, he sold 74% of his stake in Aircel to Maxis group in May 2006. Within six months, Aircel got 14 licences. It has been alleged before the Supreme Court that the Malaysia-based group invested Rs 599 crore in Maran’s family business (Sun Direct) in return for 14 spectrum licences given to Aircel during his tenure in 2006.

“Maran's family-owned business (Sun Direct) received substantial investment from Maxis group  which took 20% equity in Sun Direct. Maxis group invested a total of Rs 599.01 crore in Sun Direct between December 2007 and December 2009,” the petition, quoting Tehelka magazine, said in SC. It alleged that there was a clear quid pro quo through these deals. Maran, on his part, has defended himself saying no wrong was committed.

Sivasankaran was once close to Dayanidhi’s father, Murasoli, but fell out with the sons after the Tatas aligned with Aircel (Tata Sky of the Tata Group is a competitor to Kalanithi’s Sun Direct). It is alleged that Maran targeted the Tatas and Aircel when he was telecom minister.

Maran was forced to quit his ministerial post in July this year after allegations of impropriety and corruption emerged in a CBI status report to the Supreme Court. CBI has already questioned Sivasankaran. Justice Shivraj Patil’s report on the scam has also faulted Maran’s functioning.

The second case relates to the ‘323 telephone lines’ in Dayanidhi Maran’s house, which were allegedly provided to further the business interests of his brother Kalanithi Maran’s Sun TV Network. The tele lines ran from Dayanidhi’s house to the television channel. The CBI has sought documents relating to sanction of these ISDN lines which carry massive amount of data.

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