New Delhi: Dayanidhi Maran’s alleged transgressions when he was Telecom Minister can be traced to how he awarded licences to companies for mobile networks. This is what the CBI believes. The agency, which is investigating India’s Godzilla-sized Telecom Scam, has been following up on allegations that Mr Maran misused his term from 2004 to 2007 to help companies he favoured.
To prove its case, the CBI will explain how Mr Maran broke with the norms of the country’s telecom policy in sanctioning licences.
Before Mr Maran took office, 27 licences had been processed within months. Airtel, for example, got its licence within three months when the BJP-led NDA was in power at the centre. In contrast, after Mr Maran took over, phone operator Aircel was kept waiting for two years for the 14 licences it had applied for. Then owner of Aircel, C Sivasankaran has testified to the CBI that Mr Maran threatened and pressured him to sell his company to an entrepreneur in Malaysia who was close to the Maran family. Mr Sivasankaran claims he sold Aircel at a throwaway price to T Ananda Krishnan in late 2005. The licences were granted as quickly as within a month, for some circles or areas.
A company owned by Mr Anandakrishnan then invested 800 crores in Sun TV, owned by Mr Maran’s brother. The CBI will determine if this was a kickback for the Aircel deal.
Sources in the CBI say that proof of Mr Maran’s bias against Mr Sivasankaran can be seen in certain circles like Madhya Pradesh – here, even though the government had given the businessman a Letter of Intent to indicate his licences would be granted, he was made to wait for two years. So while the government had agreed in principal to his request, it did not allow his files to be processed. The licences were sanctioned only after Mr Anandakrishnan bought the company.