The CBI told the Supreme Court on Thursday that it had found no evidence so far to suggest that former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran of the DMK had coerced Aircel founder C Sivasankaran to sell his stake to Malaysia-based Maxis Communications.
However, senior advocate KK Venugopal said on behalf of the agency that it had evidence to show a deliberate delay in the grant of a 2G spectrum licence to Aircel and that the probe would continue. Presenting the CBI’s latest status report on Thursday, Venugopal told a bench of justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly that the CBI would complete its investigation by September 30.The CBI has been probing allegations that Maran, telecom minister from May 2004 to May 2007, had coerced the Aircel founder to sell his company to Maxis, owned by a close friend of his, and then arranged for a spectrum licence to be granted to Aircel.
The CBI statement on the absence of evidence suggesting coercion by Maran was received with joy by the DMK in Chennai, with party leaders saying that jailed Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi and former telecom minister A Raja would eventually come out unscathed.
But DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi reacted cautiously.
“Let’s see how it goes. Earlier, the CBI said they had evidence against Maran. Now they say there's nothing.”
The CBI also told the apex court that its probe has shown “violation” of norms during the NDA regime when the late Pramod Mahajan and Arun Shourie were telecom ministers and said that then finance minister Jaswant Singh would be “examined in due course”.
BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad reacted by saying in New Delhi, “We have ourselves said in Parliament that the 2G case can be investigated from 1998 itself. We are proud of the expansion of mobile and telephone connectivity during our regime and we have nothing to hide.
“What amazes us is the rank double standards and discrimination by the CBI in spite of voluminous evidence on record showing the intimidation by Maran of a particular company. Yet, the CBI is saying there is no evidence.”