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CBI investigation widens to DTH operators

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The has widened its probe into the scam, seeking to investigate the 2008 spectrum allocation made to direct-to-home (DTH) broadcasters as well. While some of the players are major telecom players too, others are pureplay broadcasters.

The apex investigating agency has directed the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to provide them the original files on the allocation of spectrum and the wireless operating licence for DTH services. The has, in response to the CBI notice it got a few days ago, provided the original files of the licence and the assigned spectrum for Sun Direct, Tata Sky, Reliance Big TV, Dish TV, Bharti Telemedia and even state broadcaster Doordarshan.

Some of these companies or their group firms are already under the CBI scanner in the 2G scam. The CBI is probing DMK MP Dayanidhi Maran’s alleged role in the Aircel-Maxis deal. It is also looking at any possible kickbacks that were received by Sun TV group , owned by the Marans from the Malaysian conglomerate Maxis. Sun Direct is part of the same group promoted by the Marans.

Reliance, Tata and Bharti did not comment on the matter when contacted. Sun Direct could not be contacted.

CBI, in its chargesheet, had also alleged that DMK MP Kanimozhi, who is daughter of former Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi, had got Kalaignar TV in the Tata Sky bouquet in conspiracy with party colleague and former telecom minister A Raja.

Reliance Telecommunications has already been charged of criminal conspiracy and cheating in the ongoing 2G case. Reliance Big TV is part of the same group. Besides Reliance and Tata groups, Bharti is both into telecom and DTH. Bharti and Tatas have not been accused in the 2G scam.

Dish TV, India's largest private service provider with a subscriber base of over 10 million, is a part of Zee network and it is not into telecom business yet. Pubcaster Doordarshan, which offers free-to-air DTH service, is also not a telecom player.

This requisition has been sought by the CBI as part of the probe into the 2G spectrum scam. The CBI, which has so far filed two chargesheets in the case, is investigating Loop-Essar connection before filing the third chargesheet. It is also conducting a preliminary enquiry into the telecom spectrum allocation from 2001-2008. CBI will also register an additional first information report for 2001-2008 case, which also covers the Maran probe as per the findings of the probe.

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