NewZNew (New Delhi) : Former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran has been summoned to a Delhi court in March to explain charges of malversation and corruption in helping Malaysia’s Maxis group take control in 2006 of Indian mobile phone carrier Aircel. Mr Maran is a top leader of the Tamil Nadu party, the DMK, which was, for some years, a member of the national coalition government headed by Dr Manmohan Singh. He was Telecom Minister from 2004 to 2007. Mr Maran lost the parliamentary election in May this year.
Mr Maran has been accused by the CBI of misusing his office as Telecom Minister in 2006 to pressure the owner of Aircel, C Sivasankaran, to sell his company to Maxis, which is based in Malaysia and owned by the country’s second-richest man, T Ananda Krishnan. The CBI says that in exchange, Maxis invested Rs. 650 crore in a company owned by Mr Maran’s brother, media mogul Kalanithi Maran. The Marans and Maxis officials have both denied any wrong-doing. Mr Ananda Krishnan and Kalanithi Maran have been asked to appear in court along with the former telecom minister on March 1, 2015.
The CBI, which began investigating the Marans in 2011, says that as minister, Dayanidhi Maran blocked licenses and clearances to Aircel to force its owner to sell the mobile carrier to Maxis. Companies controlled by billionaire Kalanithi Maran’s Sun Group, which runs a media business including television channels and satellite TV services, had received “illegal gratification” totalling about Rs. 742 crore ($123 million), the CBI said. About Rs. 549 crore of it was “in the garb of” the premium paid for the purchase of a stake in a Sun Group company, the agency said.
In a statement in September, Maxis said it would “vigorously” pursue all available legal remedies to defend itself. The company said “the allegations are totally unfounded and the charge sheet has been filed without basis.”