Maran booked, raided

Maran booked, raided

Maran booked, raided

A first information report (FIR) was also registered against him and his brother Kalanidhi Maran, the promoter of Sun TV group. CBI sleuths searched Maran’s residence and nine other locations in Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad. He is accused of receiving Rs 547 crore as kickbacks from a Malaysian company.

A senior CBI official told Deccan Herald that the agency “has got incriminating documents” during the searches.

Maran was under the scanner ever since former Aircel Chief C Sivasankaran approached the investigating agency on June 6, alleging he was not given telecom licence and Maran (the then telecom minister) forced him to sell his company Aircel to Malaysia-based Maxis group owned by T Ananda Krishnan.

The licences were issued after the deal was struck. Sivasankaran had also alleged that Marans got kickbacks in the form of investments made by the Maxis through Astro network in Sun TV (owned by Maran family). Raids were also conducted in the residential and office complexes of Apollo Hospital executive director Suneeta Reddy who, according to a  senior CBI officer, “helped the deal.”

Suneeta Reddy is the daughter of Pratap Reddy, the founder of Apollo Group of Hospitals. She was questioned by the agency last month.

Apart from Maran brothers, the CBI has booked Ralph Marshall, Director of Astro All Asia Networks, T Ananda Krishnan and three private companies on a charge of criminal conspiracy under the IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.

“The CBI has registered cases against Maran brothers, Ralph Marshall and T Anandkrishnan and three companies under Section 120b of IPC (criminal conspiracy) read with 13(2) with 13 (1)(d) and Section 7 and 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The case was registered on October 9. Searches were conducted at Delhi and Chennai,” CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra said.

The CBI has found that there was no evidence of coercion in the sale of Aircel, but got substantial evidence that Maran had favoured the takeover of the company by Maxis and deliberately delayed Sivasankar’s files, sources said.

While 74 per cent of Aircel stakes were bought by Maxis, Suneeta Reddy purchased 26 per cent stakes facilitating the deal, sources said.

Dayanidhi Maran, nephew of DMK chief M Karunanidhi, was heading the communications ministry between 2004 and 2007. He  was forced to step down as Union Textile Minister in July this year after the CBI submitted a status report in the Supreme Court saying that he used his tenure in the sale of Aircel to the Maxis.
An official confirmed that “investments around Rs 500 crore to Rs 600 crore were made by Astro, a subsidiary of Maxis, in Sun TV and bought its shares at much higher prices.”

The CBI will soon send a letter rogatory to Malaysia in the case.

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