10:26 pm - Tuesday November 3, 2015

Dayanidhi Maran forced Sivasankaran to sell his stake in Aircel to Maxis: CBI

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Former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran had “pressurised” and “forced” Chennai-based telecom promoter C Sivasankaran to sell his stakes in Aircel and two subsidiary firms to Malaysian firm Maxis Group in 2006, the CBI today told a special court.
“Accused number one (Dayanidhi Maran) forced Sivasankaran to sell his companies. He (Sivasankaran) sold his three firms to Malaysia’s Maxis Communication Berhad, accused number six,” the CBI told Special Judge O P Saini during arguments on consideration of charge sheet filed in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.
The CBI had on August 29 filed the charge sheet in the case against Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanidhi Maran and six others, including four firms.
During the arguments today, senior public prosecutor K K Goel told the court, “In this case, seller (Sivasankaran) was the victim as he was not allowed to do his business by Dayanidhi Maran.”
He said, “Several issues relating to Sivasankaran’s firms were kept pending by Dayanidhi Maran, who was the then Telecom Minister, and no decision was being taken on them.
“There was strangulation of these three companies and they were unable to perform their business,” the agency said.
It said that as soon as Maxis Group bought Sivasankaran’s firms, all the pending issues were cleared by Dayanidhi Maran giving undue benefit to the Malaysian company.
“If accused number one (Dayanidhi) had cleared all the issues and had given licences and spectrum to Sivasankaran’s firms, then Maxis Group would have had to pay much more to buy the companies,” it claimed.
Besides the Maran brothers, the CBI has named Malaysian business tycoon T Ananda Krishnan, Malaysian national Augustus Ralph Marshall and four firms–Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd, Maxis Communication Berhad, Astro All Asia Network PLC and South Asia Entertainment Holding Ltd–as accused in the case.
They have been chargesheeted for the offences punishable under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of corruption Act.
The court, after hearing the submissions advanced by the prosecutor today, fixed the matter for further arguments on September 22.
“Documents which were returned to CBI for getting it scanned have been filed in the court. Same be taken on record.
Arguments on cognisance heard for sometime. Documents are voluminous and their perusual would take sometime. Put up for further arguments on cognisance on September 22,” the judge said.
During the arguments, the agency claimed that Dayanidhi Maran, during his tenure as the Telecom Minister from February 2004 to May 2007, had allegedly abused his official position and showed undue favour to Ananda Krishnan-owned company.
Besides these accused, ex-Telecom Secretary J S Sharma, who has died, has also been named in the CBI’s charge sheet.
However, his name has been put in a column of the accused against whom trial cannot proceed.
The 72-page charge sheet includes the names of 151 CBI witnesses and a set of 655 documents, on which the agency has relied upon in its investigation.
Earlier, in a status report filed in the apex court, which is monitoring 2G scam probe, the CBI had said that during 2004-07 when Maran was the Telecom Minister, Sivasankaran was coerced to sell his stake in Aircel to Maxis Group.
According to the CBI, the Malaysian firm was favoured by Maran and granted licence within six months after the take over of Aircel in December 2006.
Maran, who has been examined by the CBI, has denied all the allegations levelled against him and his family members.

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