November 11th, 2011
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Dayanidhi Maran’s aides being grilled

dayanidhi maran New Delhi: After registering a regular case against former cabinet minister Dayanidhi Maran in Aircel-Maxis deal, the Central Bureau of Investigation is now grilling his close aides. Top officials of Department of Telecom (DoT) during Maran’s stint as the telecom minister are being interrogated by the CBI, who actually helped the then minister in arm-twisting the deal.

“Documents seized from the ministry of communication have confirmed that some top officials of DoT helped Maran to arm-twist UAS licenses allocation policy during his tenure as telecom minister. We are issuing summons to these officials to join investigation,” a top CBI official told a national daily.

According to sources, role of — Nirpender Mishra, the then telecom secretary, JS Sarma, the then additional secretary, PK Mittal, the then Deputy Director General and Sanjay Murthy, personal secretary of telecom minister – are being examined. The CBI says Mishra had sanctioned the licenses pending for Sivasankaran. “JS Sarma gave a note recommending that licenses should be held back till disputes were settled — this view blocked the process of issuance of licenses to C Sivasankaran, who was owning Aircel at that time.

“But later on he changed his stand. As per directions of JS Sarma, a note was put up by PK Mittal that the processing of applications for grant of new licenses should de-linked from show cause notices etc. Significantly, the delinking of show cause notices was approved subsequently to the change of ownership of Aircel Televentures Ltd from C Sivasankaran to Maxis Communications,” CBI official claims.

Sarma held key posts in the telecom ministry between 2003 and 2006 when the entire Aircel-Maxis controversy took place. He remained posted in the ministry, first as additional secretary from November 2003 to November 2004 and later as secretary from June 2005 to July 2006. On 14th May 2009, he joined TRAI as chairman and continues in the post. Dayanidhi’s tenure in telecom ministry remained from May 26, 2004 to May 13, 2007.

The CBI official says while it does not have proof any quid pro quo for Sarma and other DoT officials for helping Maran, but interrogation of these officials would certainly give substantial evidence to nail Maran and his close aide.The CBI official also believe that Dayanidhi Maran’s personal secretary Sanjay Murthy will also be questioned to get further leads in the case.



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