Key witness grilled, Maran next
Sticking to his guns, entrepreneur C Sivasankaran has alleged before CBI investigators that Dayanidhi Maran as telecom minister constricted business environment for his company Aircel that forced him sell it to a Malaysian firm Maxis, owned by billionaire T Ananda Krishnan.
Sivasankaran was recently examined in the CBI headquarter. It was his first statement to the agency after registration of FIR in connection with the Aircel-Maxis deal. Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanidhi and T Ananda Krishnan have been named accused in the FIR. Sivasankaran is a prime witness.
After examining Sivasankaran, investigators now plan to call Maran for questioning in the next few weeks.
“Sivasankaran’s statement was recorded under section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code and will be presented before the court once the CBI decides to file chargesheet in the case after completing the investigation. Chances are that he might be called for questioning again as there are some issue which require more clarification from him,” said a source.
Maran had to resign from the union cabinet in July last year after his name figured in the CBI’s preliminary probe into the Aircel-Maxis deal.
According to sources, in his statement Sivasankaran has described in detail the circumstances in which Dayanidhi Maran between 2004 and 2007 deliberately delayed grant of license to his company Aircel in seven circles with the intention of forcing its exit.
When Malaysia-based Maxis group bought Aircel, all its applications for licences were accepted. Sivasankaran has also alleged that Maxis was brought in the picture at the behest of Maran brothers.
The CBI in its FIR has alleged that after the change of ownership, Astro All Asia Networks Plc (related company of Maxis communications) invested in Kalanidhi Maran’s company Sun Direct TV Private Limited at a premium of around R550 crore. The probe agency suspects the investment made by Maxis’s sister concern in Sun Direct TV as quid pro quo for the Aircel-Maxis deal.