The CBI is laying the ground work to question Dayanidhi Maran on the issue of Aircel-Maxis deal. According to sources, there is enough material on record that warrants Maran’s questioning in the matter.
Sources didn’t give any time frame for the questioning but said it will take place in due course. The CBI has examined some former and serving department of telecom (DoT) officials in the matter to check the veracity of allegations leveled by former Aircel promoter C Sivasankaran.
Those examined include former DoT secretary Nripendra Misra who has told investigators that Maran had given some instructions in writing which delayed grant of licence to Dishnet Wireless Limited, a sister concern of Aircel. Dishnet had merged with Aircel later on.Sivasankaran has alleged that Maran forced him to sell Aircel to Malaysia-based Maxis, owned by T Ananda Krishnan at a throwaway price.
According to Sivasankaran, Maran as telecom minister between 2004 and 2007 delayed granting licence to Aircel, on one pretext or another, till the time Sivasankaran didn’t sell his company to Maxis.
Sivasankaran also alleged that Maxis was brought in the picture at the behest of Maran brothers — Dayanidhi and Kalanidhi. According to sources, Sivasankaran wanted to keep some equity of Aircel but he was told to sell his entire stake in the company.
According to sources after Aircel-Maxis deal, Astro, a group company of Maxis, invested in Sun Direct — a direct to home (DTH) venture of Sun TV Networks Limited, which is promoted by Kalanidhi Maran, brother of Dayanidhi Maran.
The CBI had registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) to look into the implementation of telecom policy between 2001 and 2007. Aircel-Maxis deal is under scanner of the CBI in connection with this PE. According to CBI sources, they will soon file a regular case or FIR to deal with the Aircel-Maxis matter only.