The CBI on Monday questioned a top executive of the Maxis group in connection with alleged irregularities in spectrum allotment during the tenure of former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran. The CBI also plans to question Maran soon.
CBI officials said they would register a case after the preliminary investigations are over. Ralph Marshall, CEO of Astro which invested in Sun TV and also a board member of Malaysia-based Maxis, was questioned today about allegations that Maran favoured the company in the takeover of Aircel; and in return the company made investments in Sun TV owned by Maran’s family.
In its recent status report to the SC, the CBI had said that during Maran’s tenure there was “deliberate delay” in providing letter of intent to the promoter of Aircel.
The agency said after Aircel was sold to the Maxis Group, investments were made by the Malaysian firm into the Marans’ family business. Maran’s former aides reportedly told CBI that the processing of the files of former Aircel chief owner C Sivasankaran was delayed, allegedly at the direction of the minister. They also told CBI that Marshall held a number of meetings with the then telecom minister between 2005 and 2006.
Sivasankaran had alleged that his applications for licences were rejected when Maran was the telecom minister in 2006. He further alleged that Maran and his brother Kalanidhi, who owns Sun TV, forced him to sell his stakes to Maxis group.